CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A record 107 million people are expected to travel this holiday season, according to AAA, and the West Virginia Trucking Association, in conjunction with the American Trucking Associations’ Share the Road highway safety program, released winter driving tips to help motorists taking to the nation’s highways this holiday season.
“The trucking industry wants all motorists to make safety a priority this holiday as they drive across town to pick up last minute Christmas gifts and as they motor across the region visiting friends and family,” said Traci Nelson, president of the West Virginia Trucking Association. “It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and forget to focus on safety, which is why we’re happy to provide these tips from professional truck drivers.”
The 3.5 million men and women who drive trucks professionally compile hundreds of thousands of driving miles each year and understand the importance of safety. America’s Road Team, a group of elite professional truck drivers, developed the safety tips below in an effort to impart years of safe driving experience into an easy-to-read format for the general motoring public.
• Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to ensure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Do not allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
• Slow Down: Chances of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic. Hydroplaning becomes more likely at increased speeds, especially on wet roads.
• Buckle Up: A safety belt will not prevent a collision, but it will save a life.
• Do not drive impaired: Driving is a great responsibility and your fellow travelers are relying on safe, attentive drivers to respectfully share the road and make good decisions.
• Avoid impaired drivers: Report drunk drivers to 911 – after safely pulling over – and stay on the line to help locate the suspected vehicle. A call can save lives. Erratic breaking, weaving between lanes, straddling the center line or taking excessively wide turns can all be signs of impaired driving.
• Be aware of truck blind spots: Trucks deliver all of your favorite holiday traditions. Pass on the left where the truck’s blind spot is much smaller.
• Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents and one of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
• Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them. Consider this while watching the bowl games: fully loaded tractor-trailers can take the length of a football field plus both end zones to make a complete stop.
• Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Before you head out to your aunts, uncles and cousins, check your wipers and fluids and 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.
• Prepare yourself for long distance travel: The vehicle needs maintenance and the driver needs plenty of rest and hydration to function at his or her best. If you feel drowsy, pull over and wait until you are more alert.
• Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early to reduce anxiety about arriving late. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
• Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead.
Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks.
For additional information, contact Traci Nelson at (304) 345-2800, or visit the website at www.wvtrucking.com.