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Professional truck drivers offer important highway safety tips

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With roughly 33 million Americans hitting the road this Memorial Day, drivers from American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Share the Road program urged motorists to exercise caution and good judgment as summer travel begins to ramp up.

“In addition to being a very solemn and important holiday, Memorial Day is also the unofficial kickoff of summer and the summer driving season,” said Russ Simpson, a Share the Road professional driver with Holland Inc. “With more traffic on the roads than usual, it is more important than ever for drivers to be defensive and attentive behind the wheel.”

Jan Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Trucking Association, the state affiliate of the ATA noted: “Traveling during the summer and on holiday weekends often means motorists are driving on roads that are less familiar to them.  It’s important to pay attention, put your phone down, not get behind the wheel if you’ve had too much summer fun and as always, buckle up.”

Other tips and tactics that Share the Road drivers urged motorists to heed are:

— Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.

— Slow Down: With the extra highway congestion due to holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space between you and other vehicles and reduce your speed.

— Don’t drive impaired: The holidays are often a time for merriment, but if you’ve had too much to drink, don’t get behind the wheel.

— Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.

— Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.

— Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. 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.

— Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front.

— Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.

— Plan ahead: Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.

— Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won’t be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.

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. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually.

About the West Virginia Trucking Association:

The West Virginia Trucking Association (WVTA) was formed in 1932 to bring about an organized and uniform effort within the trucking industry for increased highway safety as well as public education on the importance and value of commercial vehicle transportation. To that end, the Association has some 260 member companies and is involved in legislative representation, government relations and many highway safety programs.  The WVTA is a statewide, non-profit, association of trucking companies, private fleet operators, industry suppliers, and other firms and individuals interested in the well-being of motor transportation at the local, state and national level.

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