Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer, is quickly approaching. It is a time when the roads are traditionally packed with cars heading to the beach, a local park, or a neighbor’s house for a barbecue. Before heading out on the road, drivers should take extra precautions.
No matter how much preparation goes into a car ride, there is always a chance for a car accident, especially with heavy congestion on the roads. Those who find themselves injured in a car accident should reach out to a lawyer who can help them through the situation and explain their legal options.
According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads, when it comes to car accidents, Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous holiday. The study found that more than two million drivers in 18 states ran red lights over that weekend one year. That number is about 27 percent higher than most holiday weekends.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) releases its travel forecasts for the holiday around mid-May, and last year, it did not publish one due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, in 2019 the organization reported that 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day weekend. While restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic are lightening up throughout the United States, there will be more traffic on the road than last year. More cars means a higher risk of a car accident. There are several safety tips drivers can take that will help prevent them from being involved in an accident.
Plan the Journey
Before heading out on the road, a person should plan out their trip so they know where they are always going. Plan on bathroom stops as well as meal breaks. It is also important to plan an alternate route in case something comes up as well.
Driving safely is a key element to avoiding an accident, and one way to do that is to avoid aggressive driving or speeding. Allowing for extra time for a journey takes into account potential traffic jams and other obstacles that might delay a trip. Allowing extra time means a driver may not feel compelled to speed or driver aggressively.
Additionally, not every hour of this particular weekend is dangerous or crowded; there are certain peak times. When driving, one should attempt to avoid these times when possible. Those are ideal times to schedule a meal or a rest stop.
Get Out and Stretch
Getting out of the car frequently to take breaks, and stretching keeps a driver alert and awake through extended periods of sedentary driving. Parking further from a rest stop gives a driver a longer walk, which will help as well.
Due to the pandemic, there could be drivers who have not been behind the wheel in months. This could mean they have forgotten the basic skills of driving. Drivers should drive more defensively during the holiday weekend.
The use of technology has become widespread, but it must remain limited while driving. Drivers should avoid texting or using their phone. If a motorist must use their phone, they should do so with a hands-free device.
Do Not Drive Impaired
Drugs and alcohol can impair a person’s system and slows their reflexes. While it might be tempting to grab a drink on the road, a driver must remain clean and sober so they can properly react to anything that takes place while driving.
By following the law and traffic patterns, it minimizes the chance of a collision between two cars. All drivers should follow traffic laws, no matter the time of year.
How Should I Prepare if I am Driving Out of State?
For those who are planning to travel out of state, it is important to note that there are certain states more reluctant to lift their COVID-19 restrictions, despite the decreasing number of cases. Maryland just recently lifted the mask mandate and eliminated any limits on outdoor dining. That is not the case with all of Maryland’s neighbors. It is a good idea to research the states that will be a part of the trip to determine their restrictions ahead of time.
Other pandemic-related safety tips when driving out of state include:
- Pack masks for the trip. Given that there are still mask mandates in a few states, travelers should be prepared. Packing masks for everyone will prevent any problems if they need to go to a store or restaurant out of the state.
- Consider hygiene when traveling. When planning a long trip, hygiene and sanitation factors should be considered. Travelers should consider if they need to bring any hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes with them.
- Be cognizant when driving. For certain drivers, this weekend could represent their first major trip in well over a year. Families have been quarantined with each other, meaning that emotions could be higher resulting in aggressive or moody drivers. Others should practice significant patience when dealing with these drivers.
What Should I Pack for My Trip?
Once the car and the passengers are ready, the final item is to make sure that the car is sufficiently packed. It is important to pack all the suitcases with clothes, sunscreen, and cameras for the trip, but there should also be some planning for the drive itself. Drivers should pack an emergency bag filled with essentials that could be useful if the group encounters any problems. These items should always be in the car and routinely checked to verify their effectiveness:
- Tire gauge
- Tire iron
- Jumper cables
- Road flares
When driving with children, keeping them entertained is an extensive chore. They can get bored easily during a long car ride, so they should have plenty of activities to keep them entertained. Games and activity books are popular additions. There are parents who will utilize electronics, such as video games and music players.
Many drivers will travel during the holiday weekend. If a collision occurs, it is encouraged that the victim speaks to a lawyer.
Towson Car Accident Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Advocate for Safe Driving Practices During Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day weekend has many dangers, and driver should focus on safety. The Towson car accident lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC will help you with your case if you were involved in a collision. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.