The odds of getting into a crash increase with the number of cars on the road and Memorial Day weekend is one of the most heavily traveled weekends of the year. The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects 34.6 million people will drive 50 miles (80 km) or more from home during this holiday period, the most since 37.3 million in 2005 and an increase of 2.4 million people from last year.
National Safety Council put out their highest estimate of Memorial Day holiday accident fatalities since 2012. The estimated number of fatalities is 12% higher than the average number of deaths that occurred during the previous six Memorial Day holiday periods. The Council also estimates around 47,000 people may be seriously injured on the roads during the three-day holiday period, beginning Friday, May 26 and ending on Monday, May 29.
“Memorial Day should mark the start of summer – not the start of another deadly driving season,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Paying attention, slowing down and being courteous can ensure you and your fellow travelers make it to picnics, beaches and BBQs rather than emergency rooms.”
No one wants to be a part of these accident statistics. They want to arrive at their holiday destination unscathed and able to enjoy the unofficial start to summer. Therefore, safety should be at the top of the list of things they should be focused on before and during their travels.
Tips to ensure a safe Memorial Day weekend:
- Check your car before the trip to make sure it’s ready to go. Check things such as the fluids, tires, windshield wipers, and headlights.
- Wear a seat belt and make sure all the passengers are wearing one as well.
- Make sure children passengers are properly restrained in safety seats that are appropriate for their height, age and weight.
- Don’t Drink and Drive: Don’t kick off the Memorial Weekend festivities until you have reached your destination and are finished driving.
- Get plenty of sleep before leaving for the trip.
- Take regular breaks to avoid fatigue and consider sharing the driving load with another. Breaks reduce driver stress and a refreshed driver is more alert.
- Don’t use your cell phone while behind the wheel.
- Keep emergency supplies like jumper cables, road flares, a first aid kit, reflective triangles, nonperishable food, and a flashlight with extra batteries in the car, just in case.