This Thanksgiving, nearly 47 million people will travel to celebrate the holiday with family and friends, presenting challenging driving conditions for both truck drivers and holiday travelers. During this time, American Trucking Associations and America’s Road Team Captains, elite professional truck drivers with millions of miles of accident-free driving, are urging motorists to be safe on the roads this holiday.
“Highway safety is a critical part of making sure everyone has a happy Thanksgiving celebration,” said Charlie Demchock, a driver with Walmart Transportation and an America’s Road Team Captain. “Drivers may have to deal with difficult weather conditions, heavy traffic, and many other problems, so we want to make sure everyone has the tools and information to get to their destinations safely.”
Tips for safe Thanksgiving travel include:
• Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early and allow for delays in your travel schedule. Know your limitations. Don't drive when tired, upset, or physically ill.
• Plan ahead: Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
• Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail, and snow make roads difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather conditions, and travel during daylight as much as possible.
• Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to ensure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don't allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
• Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road before you leave your home.
• Buckle up: Safety belts are not a fashion statement--they save lives.
• Slow down: Chances of a crash nearly triple when driving faster than surrounding traffic. With winter weather conditions present, speeding becomes increasingly hazardous. Allow plenty of space around you as a cushion and reduce your speed.
• Abide by traffic rules: Follow traffic signs and signals, while paying special attention to work zones.
• Pay Attention: Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes. Looking away for even two seconds doubles the chances of an accident. Turn off cell phones and PDAs.
• Be aware of trucks' blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can't see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you.
• Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
• Use hands-free mode on GPS/smartphone: If using a smart phone for GPS directions, make sure to plug in the route before starting the trip, then set the phone down and leave it in hands-free mode with voice direction activated. GPS directions are useful but it is important to avoid looking at the device while driving to prevent safety distractions.
ATA and America's Road Team would like to remind the motoring public that from driveway to highway, safety requires patience, attention and determination, particularly around the holidays.
“Many of America’s truck drivers are far from home this holiday, so please keep them in your thoughts as you sit down around the Thanksgiving table with your friends and family,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in a video message (https://youtu.be/9OEFcN8u6Zc). “To those drivers--and to all of you who are traveling this holiday--please be safe on the highways.”