One of the most dangerous driving weekends of the year is approaching. The National Safety Council estimates 415 people may die on the roads during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. Following a year with increased motor vehicle fatality rates across the country, NSC urges all Americans to plan ahead and practice defensive driving over the long weekend, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, May 28, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 31.
"Many people choose to travel by car, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per miles traveled,” said Mark Chung, vice president, roadway practice at NSC. “As family and friends gather for the holiday, we not only call on everyone to spend time together safely during the ongoing pandemic, we also ask you to do your part to ensure you and your loved ones get to your destinations safely."
Following are five tips for travel to destinations near and far:
- Prepare before you go: Before hitting the road, make sure your car is safe for driving. Vehicle owners should check the oil, put air in the tires, and check for and repair open recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to see if your vehicle has an open recall, and get it repaired for free.
- Drive distraction-free: Thousands have died in crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive.
- Slow down: Speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit and do not exceed it. Be sure to pay attention to those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.
- Designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation: Alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines, can cause drowsiness, alter visual functions and affect mental judgement and motor skills.
- Buckle up: Seat belts are estimated to have saved 374,276 lives. Buckle up, while also making sure you have appropriate car seats installed correctly.
Review supplemental information about Memorial Day travel at the National Safety Council to make sure your travel plans are safe! The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, they work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment.