Labor Day weekend can seem like the last hurrah of summer, before the lazy days of summer come to an end, the weather starts to shift, and many schools return to the fall routine. The three-day weekend is a popular time to make use of what is left of the season and hit the road to a beach, lake, or gathering of family and friends. When a lot of people have the same idea, all filling the highways going to their destinations, the overwhelming popularity of this weekend for annual end-of-summer trips can result in an increased risk of car accidents.
It is important that drivers take precautions to mitigate the threats posed on the roads over the holiday weekend. Below is a list of things drivers can do to keep themselves, their passengers, and other road users safe when traveling this Labor Day weekend.
Choosing When to Travel is Important
Avoid high-traffic travel times. Most Labor Day weekend travelers hit the road in the late afternoon or evening on Friday. Avoiding these hours can make traveling safer, as more cars mean more possibilities for accidents. To steer clear of busy, overcrowded roads, drivers should leave before rush hour on Friday or early Saturday morning. When everyone is returning home at the end of the trip on Monday, the busy times are usually between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Avoid driving during those peak hours.
Try not to drive in the dark. Accidents are more likely in the hours after dusk and before dawn. During these evening and overnight hours, the darkness makes it harder for drivers to see the road’s condition, any dangerous obstructions in their way, and others using the road. This disproportionately affects older drivers and others who may suffer from poor eyesight.
Avoid Certain Pitfalls
Stay focused on the road. Drivers should recognize that they must focus on only one job: driving. They should let a passenger handle directions or the GPS. They should not attempt to program a radio or communicate on their cell phone. These driving distractions are common causes of accidents.
Leave enough distance. When drivers are eager to get to their destination, they may be tempted to tailgate. However, this is a dangerous practice. If the car ahead were to suddenly hit their brakes, the tailgating car would ram right into them, which could cause serious injuries to occupants of either vehicle.
Obeying the Law is Not Optional
Do not speed. Traveling over the speed limit can be extremely dangerous, especially when roads are crowded, as they often are on busy holiday weekends. Yet, even on empty roads, speeding increases the chances of an accident as well as the severity of any collision that occurs.
Drive only when sober. Drunk driving is incredibly dangerous at all times of the year, but holiday weekends seem to be times when drivers are more likely to take risks associated with driving under the influence. Drunk driving accidents are more likely to take place on weekends, especially holiday weekends.
Follow traffic signs and signals. Road safety depends on drivers adhering to the directions and warnings on road markings, traffic lights, and signage. Drivers must operate according to the rules of the road to allow for other road users to anticipate their actions. Blowing through a red light is a sure-fire way to increase the risk factor for causing an accident, but even sliding through a stop sign or ignoring the right-of-way rules at an intersection can cause an accident.
Taking Safety Seriously is Imperative
Wear a seat belt. This suggestion should be non-negotiable. Drivers and passengers should always use their seat belts. One simple click could mean the difference between walking away from an accident and never walking again after a serious collision. No injury prevention method is easier to put in place, and no other act has protected countless drivers from the unimaginable consequences of what could have happened.
Report drunk drivers. When drivers are spotted weaving or driving erratically, they should be reported to the police. The danger they pose to others should not be ignored. Making a simple call to 911 can result in a dangerous drunk driver being removed from the road, which very well may save lives.
Be aware of other road users. Drivers should make sure to remain cognizant of cyclists and pedestrians in addition to other drivers. Roads are clogged with all kinds of people when the weather is nice. Holiday weekends in the summer are an invitation for all kinds of travelers, such as motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Drive defensively, but considerately. Drivers should be aware of the threats other drivers pose, but they should also remain mindful that their own actions can influence the common safety of all road users. Be courteous to other drivers and road users. A little bit of civility can go a long way.
Bring your patience. Although it is understandable for drivers to be excited to start their vacations, there is no excuse for disregarding the needs of others. Some drivers behave in ways that make the roads less safe, such as driving aggressively or recklessly speeding or weaving in and out of traffic to advance faster than other drivers. This is very dangerous. If possible, avoid those motorists who drive this way. In fact, it can be advantageous for everyone to just let these drivers pass. It is not worth it to become a target of an aggressive driver. In extreme situations, it may be smart to have a passenger alert the authorities to the dangerous driver.
Planning Ahead can Help Ensure Safety
Plan the route. When traveling on unfamiliar roads, it can help to map out the route in advance. Sometimes accidents are caused when drivers are caught unaware of tricky turns or out-of-sight exits that seem to come up too quickly. Having an idea of the roads and turns that are part of the route allows the driver to go into the trip without worry that they will become confused and cause an accident.
Have the vehicle serviced. Ensure that the car is in good shape. Before leaving on a long road trip, drivers should have their car looked at by a trusted mechanic. They should ensure that the brakes, tires, and steering are in good working order. Worn or damaged parts should be replaced before the drive, including tires, brake pads, and belts. It can also be important to test the battery and top off any fluids.
Pack an emergency kit. If car trouble strikes, having a properly stocked emergency kit is essential. The kit should include items such as jumper cables, road flares, basic tools, duct tape, and a flashlight with extra batteries. Also, a complete kit should include a first-aid set, including cloth bandages, a tourniquet, gauze, medical tape, scissors, tweezers, and rubber gloves. Other things that may come in handy on the side of the road while waiting for a tow truck include bottled water, a blanket, and a snack.
Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyers Ellis Law Work Hard to Help Injured Clients
If you were hurt in a car accident, you should be able to collect damages from the driver responsible for your injuries. You may be eligible to receive compensation to pay for hospital bills, doctor visits, diagnostic tests, prescriptions, and other injury-related costs. The Monmouth County car accident lawyers at Ellis Law can help you identify the damages due to you and fight for your rights to collect them from the person responsible for your accident. For a free consultation, call us at 732-308-0200 or complete our online form. We are located in Freehold, New Jersey, and help clients throughout Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn, New York, and New York City.