During holidays, Americans are traveling more than normal. Whether we are visiting family or just getting away for a long weekend, many of us pack up our RVs and we hit the road for these extended weekends.
However, crash and fatality rates go up considerably during the summer holidays: Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Alcohol, fatigue, distractions, and more vehicles on the road contribute to these rising rates. Even if these issues do not affect you during your drive, all RVers need to be aware that others drivers might be experiencing them and drive defensively.
While overall fatalities are lower today than they were 20 years ago, that number is trending up again the last 4-6 years. Thirty-five to forty-five percent of those fatal crashes involved alcohol. Non-fatal and non-injury accidents are rising even faster. All of these crashes are preventable.
At all times, but especially during holidays, remember to use caution to protect yourself and others on our nation’s highways.
Do not get behind the wheel of any vehicle after consuming alcohol. Find alternate transportation or let someone else drive.
Preform a pre-trip inspection. Check your RV and any tow vehicle for loose objects, poor tire wear, proper tire pressure, fluid leaks or other maintenance issues before leaving home.
Always wear a seatbelt and make sure children are properly restrained.
Get plenty of rest before driving days. This is especially important when driving large vehicles long distances on a deadline. Share the driving responsibilities with other licensed drivers and take frequent breaks.
Reduce or eliminate distractions. Program routes and get other items ready before you begin driving.
Be aware of other drivers. There are more travelers on the road during holidays. Not all of these drivers make wise decisions, so pay attention when you see unsafe behavior.
Watch for bad weather and plan appropriately. Summer thunderstorms or winter snow storms can add hazards to your driving day that could easily be avoided by altering your route or schedule.
If it is possible, avoid travel on holiday weekends. For instance, arrive at the campground on the Thursday before Memorial Day and depart the Tuesday after to avoid the extra traffic and uncertainty of holiday driving. This can reduce the necessity of operating your larger RV in more congested traffic conditions.
While the majority of RVers are safe drivers, dangerous driving situations can occur at any time on the road. Be alert. Be prepared. Respond appropriately.
For further study on holiday driving: