The Virginia Trucking Association is providing safe driving tips for those who will be traveling this weekend during the 4th of July holiday.
AAA expects nearly 1.33 million Virginians to travel this Independence Day holiday, a 37 percent increase from last year when just 968,000 traveled for the holiday. Overall, state travel numbers are returning to pre-pandemic levels with just 1 percent fewer Virginians expected to travel this year compared to Independence Day in 2019, which set a record.
The VTA is committed to spreading the message of safety. They recommend planning and coordinating travel plans ahead of time, as well as following the below safety tips.
This safe driving guidance applies to all motorists, and is crucial when operating small passenger vehicles near large tractor-trailers:
- Buckle Up: Independence Day is a time of high congestion on the highways and wearing your safety belt saves lives. Remember to buckle up at all times.
- Slow Down: The chances of a crash nearly triple when driving faster than surrounding traffic. The spring and summer are periods when work zones are busiest in this country. It is important to reduce speeds when traveling through those areas over the holiday.
- Do not drive impaired: We have a lot of freedoms to celebrate during Independence Day, but impaired driving is not one of those freedoms and jeopardizes the freedoms of others. Consider the safety of yourself and others by planning ahead for your holiday.
- Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of where their blind spots are. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.
- Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone only when stopped and never text while driving.
- Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember trucks are heavier and a fully loaded truck traveling at highway speeds needs about the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
- Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers, fluids, and tire pressure. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.
- Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won’t be anxious about arriving late. Many major cities can expect delays three times worse than normal. Road conditions may change due to weather or traffic congestion.
- Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead in case of sudden stops.
- Watch for children in neighborhoods who could be playing on or near residential streets.