Subject Matter Expert: Kerry Mooney, Associate Product Manager
If you’re not at work this Labor Day weekend, you’ll likely be taking the long weekend to hit the road. This is the case for many Americans this weekend, which means you’ll likely face road congestion.
To ensure your safety on these busy roads, we’ve compiled a few tips to make your journey as hassle-free and labor-free as possible.
- Plan ahead to avoid traffic: There are many factors to consider when planning your Labor Day weekend getaway.
- Weather: Check how the weather conditions are looking along your journey. Extreme weather like heavy rains or thunderstorms can really backup traffic.
- Time of day: If you can avoid driving during rush hours, do it. Also, try to plan your road trip at times of the day when you’re naturally awake so you don’t get drowsy behind the wheel.
- Route optimization: If it’s summer, then you know it’s also construction season. Take a mental note of where there’s heavy construction because that’s also where you’ll find heavy traffic. Also, keep in mind that there might be various Labor Day related festivals or parades, so plan your route around such events. In addition to getting to your destination efficiently, route optimization can also help you save on fuel.
- Avoid distracted driving: Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents every year. You want to make sure that you are extra vigilant behind the wheel on those busy holiday roads. If you’re using your phone for navigation, make sure to set the GPS before you shift into drive. Avoid using your phone at all times while driving. If it is necessary to look at your phone, wait until you are off the road and parked safely. Additionally, avoid eating while driving. Though it may seem doable, multitasking can significantly reduce your reaction time and potentially compromise your safety.
- Practice defensive driving: You can never predict what kinds of drivers you’ll be sharing the road with, so make sure to be a defensive driver. This includes:
- Identifying drivers who are driving dangerously and try avoiding them.
- Scanning for traffic and road conditions ahead.
- Always signaling when turning, merging, or changing lanes.
- Keeping your cool. Driving while tired or in an extreme emotional state can be dangerous to both you and those driving around you.
- Don’t weave across lanes: With really slow traffic, it might be tempting to frequently switch lanes so that you can move faster. Staying in your lane in these situations is the best option because you can’t anticipate what other drivers might do. Unless it’s necessary to switch lanes, it’s safest to just stay in your own.
- Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you: Reaction time is key for driving on busy roads. In order to give yourself enough reaction time, follow the 3 second rule: give yourself at least 3 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. When the vehicle in front of you passes, say, a road sign, count how long it takes for you to pass the same road sign. Anything shorter than 3 seconds creates an unsafe reaction time. When roads are busy, anyone can brake suddenly. You want to have enough time to react to such situations.
Here at Wheels Donlen, we want to make sure you have the tools to make your Labor Day weekend a labor-free weekend. By following these tips, you can be safe while cruising through the weekend. If you have a road trip coming up to close out the summer, we encourage you to check out our Summer Road Trip Series on YouTube here. If you want to improve your fleet safety program, feel free to contact us.