According to travel forecasts, 25% of Americans plan to travel for the Labor Day weekend, and 86% will travel by car. Unfortunately, traveling by car is becoming more and more dangerous, especially in Tennessee as we were recently rated the second-worst state in the nation (another blog post to follow on that). But even across the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents are on the rise, up roughly 14% in two years. The latest reporting shows more than 40,000 people are losing their lives every year in car accidents, and another 4.6 million are being injured. So if you and your family are planning on being on the roads this Labor Day weekend, here are a handful of important safety reminders:
- If it has been a while since you had your car serviced, either run it over to a local mechanic or car dealership or check it out yourself. Be sure all your lights are operational, that your tires have the appropriate levels of tread and pressure and that your brakes and windshield wipers are in good condition. Check your vehicle’s fluid levels too.
- If you do suffer a breakdown while driving and you are able, get your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible. If it is dark, use your emergency lights or an interior dome light to help other drivers better see your vehicle. Unless it is unsafe to so, stay in your vehicle and call for help.
- Avoid distractions. Of course, distractions come in many forms – children, navigational systems, phones, food. Pack toys and books to keep young children entertained. If you have adult passengers, let them assist with navigation. And obviously, do not text and drive, take photos or use apps while driving.
- Be mindful of your speed. According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation statistics, speed was a factor in at least 8,100 accidents in Tennessee last year. Even if you are not exceeding the speed limit, your speed may be too fast for conditions i.e, weather, construction, traffic, etc. Leave yourself enough time to get to your destination so you do not feel rushed.
- Have fun this weekend but do not drink and drive. This admonition includes anything motorized including boats, jet skis, motorcycles, mopeds, etc. Call a taxi or Uber. Stay at a friend’s house. But, please do not put your life or the lives of others at risk.
- Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles so you have adequate time to react.
- Avoid road rage. If another driver misbehaves, do not engage. If necessary, get off at the next exit or turn into a parking lot to get away from the other driver. Call police, if appropriate. If you are the one feeling a little hot under the collar, pull over and take a break. Take some deep breaths and walk around a bit so you can calm down before getting back in the car.
- Wear your seatbelt and make sure everyone else in your vehicle is buckled up.
From everyone at the Law Offices of John Day, we hope you have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend. If you need us, do not hesitate to contact us at 615-742-4880 (Brentwood) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free).