Maneuvering Around Spring Break Traffic
With the recent rise in gas prices, you might assume fewer people will be on the roads during spring break. However, the spike in prices isn’t deterring travelers, but rather causing people to adjust their plans. Instead of making long road trips, many are planning “staycations,” or vacations to destinations within a few hours of their home. While truck drivers in states like Florida and Texas have long been familiar with the impact of spring break travel, drivers across the U.S. need to prepare for potential spring break hazards.
One of the most obvious dangers of spring break travel is an increase in traffic and congested roads. Your drivers should slow down and increase their following distance to allow plenty of time to react to what’s happening on the road. They should obey the speed limits and drive at a safe speed for the conditions.
Every day, almost 30 people in the U.S. die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That number can be even higher during spring break when people may be more likely to drink alcoholic beverages. Drunk drivers often cross over traffic lanes, drive without headlights on, make illegal turns and drive significantly above or below the speed limit. If your drivers spot someone they believe to be driving while intoxicated, they should leave plenty of distance between their truck and the motor vehicle. If possible, they should pull over to a safe, legal parking spot and call 911 to report the driver.
Motor vehicle drivers who are navigating unfamiliar roads can be just as dangerous. Spring break road trips often involve traveling to a new destination via a route people may not be accustomed to driving. They may get lost or confused while navigating their trip. They might look down at a map or reach for their GPS, taking their eyes off the road. They might also make abrupt corrections to their course, such as pulling onto an exit ramp at the last second. Truck drivers should be on the lookout for this behavior and yield the right of way to confused drivers.
Vacationing travelers aren’t just a hazard behind the wheel. Tourists on foot may unexpectedly walk into traffic if they are distracted by local sights or looking down at a map. Truck drivers should always assume pedestrians don’t see them and must be prepared for someone to unknowingly step onto the road. When turning at intersections, your drivers should take a final look before entering the crosswalk in the direction they are turning.
Congested roads, drunk drivers and distracted travelers are just a few of the spring break obstacles your drivers may face. Share these tips with them today and keep them safe on the road during this time of increased traffic.