06 Jun Summer Holiday Driver Safety Tips
Blog Content by Lauren Patton
Holiday Weekends Mean Risks on the Road
Holiday weekends are known in the U.S. for their relaxed and celebratory nature. Among police officers, emergency responders, and attorneys, they are also notorious for their profusion of motor vehicle accidents. The days surrounding major holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving see more individuals and families on the road than average weekends. This dramatic increase in traffic density, combined with hurried or distracted driving by preoccupied motorists, leads to higher-than-usual crash rates. Heightened alcohol consumption during holidays also contributes to these statistics: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that alcohol is a factor in 35-50% of fatal holiday crashes.
Memorial Day Accidents Claim 7 Lives in Virginia
This year, Memorial Day weekend saw 6 fatal motor vehicle accidents with 7 resulting deaths in the state of Virginia, including 4 motorcyclists. Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty encouraged motorists in a statement to put safety first while driving this summer. “Buckle up, put on a helmet, eliminate distractions, put the phone down and never drive drunk or drugged,” he said. “These things could make the difference in surviving or avoiding a crash all together.”
5 Ways to Stay Safe on Virginia Roads
The most accident-heavy weekend of the year may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean Virginia drivers should drop their guard. Just a few weeks away, Independence Day is the deadliest single day of the year for American motorists, with an average of 118 deaths each year. Whether you’re road tripping to the beach or just heading down the road for another bag of charcoal, follow these 5 tips to drive smart and stay safe this summer.
- Plan ahead. Leaving ample time to reach your destination, looking up directions in advance, and driving at off-peak traffic times can help diminish the risks of driving during busy holiday weekends.
- Avoid distractions, especially cell phones, while driving. Using a phone while driving, whether to talk, text, or play music, dramatically increases the likelihood of a crash. While most people swear they’d never let their phone distract them while driving, the NHTSA estimates that 660,000 drivers use electronic devices while driving during the day. And phones aren’t alone: other distractions include eating, blasting loud music, and looking at directions, so be sure to give the road your full attention.
- Always wear seatbelts & helmets! This may sound obvious, but the temptation to skip buckling up becomes stronger when vehicles are filled to the brim with passengers or stuffed with coolers and camp chairs. As last weekend’s fatalities prove, wearing your seatbelt (or your helmet on a motorcycle) can mean the difference between life and death, so don’t underestimate the importance of basic safety precautions.
- Keep a safe following distance. The Virginia DMV recommends maintaining four seconds of following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If another driver disregards this rule and tailgates you, avoid the urge to “teach them a lesson” by braking or blocking them; simply get to a safe place and let them pass you.
- Never mix alcohol with driving. Every day, 28 people die in alcohol-related vehicle crashes in the United States. Never get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have consumed alcohol or other drugs, and don’t get in the car with a driver who has been drinking. If you are driving at night, be aware that other drivers on the road may have been drinking, and drive defensively.
We at the Paullin Law Firm wish you all the best during your summer adventures. Staying alert and driving defensively can help keep you safe on Virginia’s roads, where there are thousands of other motorists whose actions you can’t control. If you do experience a traffic incident in Virginia, contact the Paullin Law Firm at (804) 423-7423 or visit our website at www.paullinlaw.com to get an experienced, compassionate attorney on your side. Mark Paullin has been fighting on behalf of clients for 30 years, and his expertise can help you recover from losses, injuries, and damage to your vehicle after an accident.