Summer travels calls for added safety on roads

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summertime always brings an increase in travel. Kids are out of school, parents find themselves able to take off that extra day at work and college students traverse the state to see friends and family while on break causing traffic jams and hazards along the way.

AAA estimated that an astounding 37.2 million Americans travelled 50 miles or more from home during the Memorial Day weekend with 88 percent of them traveling by automobile, an 5.3 percent increase since last year. And experts predict more than 42 million Americans will be on the roads, travelling for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

These peak travel periods mean extra patrols and more officers on the roads, in an effort to enforce laws and protect safety. Law enforcement officers encourage safe driving during the summer, especially during holiday weekends.

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Travel safety can often begin before you’ve even left your home. It’s always smart to have regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks and tire rotations and balances done before heading on a trip, no matter big or small. Having your vehicle properly serviced could prevent unplanned accidents like a flat tire or blown motor.

Before hitting the road, make sure someone knows your game plan. Be sure to tell your designated person when you leave. They should know how long you anticipate the trip taking you in case of an emergency. And, you should make arrangements to check in once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Once considered just a bad-driving habit, many states, including Alabama, are cracking down on distracted driving.

At all times, drivers should remain focused on the road before them. Cellphones are the most tempting distraction. Setting safety rules and boundaries with fellow your riding mates could help you refrain from distracted driving and keep your eyes on the road. Tap a friend to be a co-pilot or to monitor phone calls for you, if you are driving.

No matter the technology, the tried-and-true golden rule of not drinking and driving always stands. Twenty-eight times a day in the United States a person losses their life due to an alcohol- or impaired-driving related incident.

Drinking and driving is not only irresponsible, it’s preventable. When out with friends be sure to practice safe and responsible driving. If planning to drink, have a designated sober driver on-hand before going out for the night.

Beginning July 2 state Highway Patrol Posts will begin stepping up enforcement in “hot spots,” or areas of concern previously identified by crash and activity data and will be searching for drivers participating in any number of these dangerous activities.

And, starting at 12:01 a.m. Saturday July 4 through midnight July 6, all available troopers, along with local law enforcement agencies, will enforce traffic laws and be available to motorists up and down Alabama’s highways.

So be smart and be safe if you’re hitting the roads in upcoming weeks.