Truck Drivers Urge Motorists to be Safe During the Independence Day Holiday

Jul 01, 2014, 11:58 ET from American Trucking Associations

ARLINGTON, Va., July 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 41 million motorists are expected to travel on the highways this Independence Day holiday, and the American Trucking Associations is urging the motoring public to practice caution and patience to ensure our roads are safe.

Members of America's Road Team – an elite group of professional truck drivers – with more than 470 years collective driving experience and 30 million-plus accident-free miles, have several safety tips for motorists traveling the highways this holiday. 

  • Prepare before you leave – Check your tire pressure, wipers and fluids. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road before you leave your home.
  • Plan your trip – Know where you are going and be prepared to exit. Indecisive driving is a major cause of traffic problems.
  • Be aware of large trucks – Trucks have large blind spots, so if you can't see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you. Also remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.  A fully loaded tractor trailer takes a football field and both end zones to come to a complete stop when driving at highway speeds.
  • Pay Attention – Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes. Looking away for even two seconds doubles the chances of an accident.  Turn cell phones and PDAs off. 
  • No Texting - Writing or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 MPH, that's like driving the length of a football field – blindfolded.  If you text while you're behind the wheel, you're 20 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a non-distracted driver.
  • Allow a Safety Cushion – Look a quarter mile ahead for a safe path and leave yourself an out in case of distress.
  • Slow Down – Chances of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic.
  • Keep extra water in your vehicle – Just as you keep a winter driving kit in your vehicle, it is important to be prepared when driving during the summer months. Keep plenty of extra water, sunscreen and non-perishable snacks in your car in case you are stranded.
  • Buckle Up – Safety belts are not a fashion statement – they save lives.
  • Abide by Traffic Rules – Follow traffic signs and signals – paying special attention to work zones.
  • Be Careful Backing Up – One in four preventable collisions involve backing up.  Be sure to look before backing up; walk around your car prior to departure.

"The Fourth of July is a special holiday for many Americans – and in particular many truck drivers," said America's Road Team Captain Loren Hatfield, a professional truck driver for ABF Freight System. "By exercising a little caution and common sense, we can all do our part to ensure the holiday remains a festive and happy occasion for all Americans."

AAA Travel is expecting a 1.9% increase in travelers this year compared to last year and nearly a 14% increase compared to the Memorial Day Weekend.

Editor's note: America's Road Team Captains are available for in-studio and phone interviews to share driving tips and promote highway safety during the Fourth of July holiday.

The America's Road Team, sponsored by Volvo Trucks, is a national public outreach program led by a small group of professional truck drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records and a strong desire to spread the word about safety on the highway.  Follow America's Road Team on Facebook or Twitter.

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation's freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward.

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SOURCE American Trucking Associations