The Fourth of July is arguably one of the most anticipated holidays in the country. It's a time for Americans to come together to celebrate their heritage, the nation's founding history, and their independence.
People across the U.S. usually travel during the holiday to attend events or celebrate with friends and family. According to Travel Agent Central, 41.4 million people planned to travel by automobile in 2019, with drivers facing delays up to four times the regular commute. Another 1.9 million people planned road trips and other holidays during the same period.
The high number of motorists on the road increases the risk of traffic accidents and incidents. Despite these risks, truckers must still do their jobs and get to their destinations as planned, which is why we have compiled the following list of safe driving tips when traveling during this busy holiday.
Safety Tips for Driving During the Fourth of July Holiday
Plan Your Route
As a trucker, whether local, regional, or over-the-road (OTR), you must always look for the best possible route to take you to your destination safely and on time. Often, depending on the day, some roads are better than others. During the fourth of July holiday period, try and avoid busy highways and streets that might have a lot of traffic.
Even though you may have to drive some extra miles, rest assured that the detour may either help you save time, go a safer route that's less crowded, or both. Remember that you cannot always avoid traffic because most people are traveling during that period, but it's best to look at your itinerary to see if you can find a better route.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Traffic creates safety hazards and can lead to delays in your route. Always give yourself plenty of time to navigate through the holiday traffic to reduce stress and make your deadlines safely. It's best to leave earlier than usual if possible when driving over the Independence Day holiday.
By leaving early you can drive responsibly, keep your mind focused on your route, pay attention to traffic conditions, beat traffic in and around major cities, and not worry about missing your deadline.
Watch Your Speed
Speed kills all year round, but especially during busy holidays. If you find yourself outpacing other motorists, slow down. Likewise, slow down whenever you approach or drive in areas with families or large groups of people. It's also a good idea to keep a safe following distance to give yourself time to make adjustments as needed.
Always Check Your Mirrors
During heavy traffic conditions, pay special attention to four-wheel drivers because they will often be in and out of your sight and blind spot. The truth is that there are numerous irresponsible motorists on the road, and as a trucker, you must hold yourself to a higher standard than other road users.
Part of this includes always being aware of your surroundings and using your mirrors to ensure no one moves into your blind spot without you noticing.
Use Your Turn Signal Excessively
Truckers need to drive better than the average motorist, especially during busy holidays. Hence, it is best always to use your turn signals in advance to indicate any lane change. Motorists tend to make rash driving decisions, especially on busy highways, such as passing on the right side or staying in truckers' rear blind spots.
Using your turn signal gives other drivers a chance to notice your intentions early and hopefully make proper adjustments. Even if they do not move immediately, be patient, and remain on your lane. Road safety should always be your top priority.
Due to the increased traffic and unpredictability of other motorists, it's best to remain focused on the road. Avoid eating or drinking while driving. It only takes a moment of distracted driving (i.e., opening a bag of chips) to lead to unprecedented consequences.
Pay Attention to the Weather
The weather can change quickly in different parts of the country, even during the summer. Whether you drive locally or OTR, it is always best to pay attention to the weather forecast before you set out. It's no fun driving through inclement weather, and it can be quite dangerous.
Maintain Your Truck
Summertime can take a toll on your truck, so it is best to ensure that your rig is well-maintained before setting out. Check your tire pressure to avoid blowouts, and your brakes to ensure they work correctly. The summertime heat usually deflates tires easier and causes brakes to fade faster. The last thing you want in heavy traffic is a failing brake system.
Drive Smart and Stay Safe
Remember, staying alert and implementing simple safety procedures on the road can make a huge difference for you, your truck, and other motorists. These safety tips not only apply to the Fourth of July holiday period but all year round.