To minimize your chances of being in a traffic accident this Memorial Weekend, experts advise that you wear your seat belt, and exercise caution at night.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that during Memorial Weekend in 2010:
- 57% of passenger occupants killed were not wearing seat belts
- 64% of passenger fatalities occurred during the nighttime hours of 6 pm to 6 am, and 66% of those passengers were not wearing seat belts.
Attempting to prevent these high numbers from occurring again, the NHTSA has launched a “Click it or ticket” program. Law enforcement across the country work together throughout a two-week period around Memorial Day, imposing a zero-tolerance policy for not wearing safety belts. The program has been credited with increasing the use of seat belts.
What else can I do to stay safe?
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that, for the past six years, the Memorial Day weekend has averaged 11.5% more traffic fatalities than similar non-holiday periods. The council estimates this increase is partly due to increased travel.
The NSC makes these additional recommendations to help you avoid traffic accidents over this three-day weekend:
- Don’t use your mobile phone while driving
- Make sure all passengers war seat belts, and children are in appropriate safety seats
- Children 12 and under should sit in the back seat
- Allow plenty of travel time to reduce the impulse to speed
- Drive defensively and exercise caution, especially during bad weather
- Avoid driving while drowsy
- Consider assigning a designated a driver among your group who refrains from drinking any alcohol; the council cautions that even moderate consumption of alcohol impairs driving judgment
Take a few moments to be prepared in case you are in an accident. If your mobile phone doesn’t have a camera, keep a disposable one in the car. It’s important when you exchange information to also document the scene – take pictures of all cars involved, showing any damage and their positions.
For more information, download our free book, “Kentucky Car Accidents: Everything You Should Know” here.