CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With more than 99 million motorists expected to use our nation’s highways in the coming weeks, the West Virginia Trucking Association (WVTA), along with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Share the Road highway safety program recently released a dozen safety tips for driving this holiday season.
“Safe driving is critical this time of year and there are many steps you can take to prepare for holiday travel,” Jan Vineyard, president of WVTA, said. “Please take a minute to review our list of good highway safety habits before getting on the road this holiday season.”
The WVTA and ATA’s Share the Road highway safety program compiled this list of twelve driving tips:
- Don’t drive impaired: The holidays are often a time for merriment, but if you’ve had too much to drink, please don’t drive.
- Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road. If traveling with any small “elves,” make sure they too are properly secured.
- Slow down: With the extra congestion due to holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space between you and other vehicles and reduce your speed.
- Fully remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to insure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don’t allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
- 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 of you so you can avoid snow and ice blowing onto your windshield or maneuver around patches of ice.
- 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.
- Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles your chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
- Check your emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
- Be aware of changes in weather: Weather conditions across the country will be changing – especially during early mornings and evenings. Watch for ice, snow and other weather related obstacles and be aware of any temperature changes.
- Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail and snow make roads difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather conditions and travel during daylight hours.
“Winter weather poses many unique challenges to the motoring public and professional truck drivers,” professional driver Bill West of ABF Freight said. “We want to remind everyone that the goal should be to arrive at your destination safely. That could mean following the tips we offered, such as leaving a few minutes early or being extra cautious when facing difficult road conditions. Truck drivers are delivering many of the products that play important roles in holiday celebrations, such as decorations, wrapping paper, toys, food and so much more, so we must all work together to share the road safely in order to have happy holidays.”
The WVTA, the ATA and the ATA Share the Road program would like to thank you for staying safe and sharing the road this winter and wish happy holidays to all.
About the American Trucking Associations and Share the Road:
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking association and industry-related conferences and councils. ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. The Share the Road program is a highway safety outreach program of the ATA that educates all drivers about sharing the road 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. The safety program is sponsored by Mack Trucks Inc. and Michelin North America Inc.
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.