July may be known for patriotic parties, long days at the beach and general summer fun — but it's also a dangerous month to be out on the roads driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted that the Fourth of July is the most hazardous day to be out on the roads.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that nearly 41 million people will take to the roads over the holiday. In addition, people sharing the roadways are likely to be distracted, in a rush, or possibly impaired.
First and foremost, practicing space management is key. If you distance yourself as a driver, you have the highest chance to mitigate yourself being exposed to a collision.
In addition to space management, use these six best practices while sharing the road with distracted drivers:
- Watch your speed: If you find yourself outpacing the traffic around you, slow down. Additionally, remember to reduce your speed if you’re driving in areas where there may be families and large groups of people. Also, remember to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, particularly in construction zones.
- Be mindful of the weather: The Fourth of July falls right in the middle of thunderstorm season, so severe weather safety is a must for truckers. We all know that the weather can change quickly in many parts of the country, so it’s important to check the weather for your route ahead of time. If there’s a chance of severe weather, consider taking an alternate route if you can’t monitor the weather and conditions become too dangerous to drive.
- Expect delays: As mentioned above, almost 41 million people will be on the road this Fourth of July. With the high volume of people on the road at the same time, it’s very possible that truck drivers will be exposed to heavy traffic, specifically in areas where camping, boating, and other outdoor activities are in heavy demand. Be sure to plan your route ahead of time and account for potential delays.
- Limit distractions: Cell phones, eating, and fatigue are three key factors to distracted driving. While it’s possible to talk while keeping your eyes on the road, it’s still a distraction and it causes the driver to lose focus on the primary objective. Never use a handheld device while operating a CMV, in addition, try not to eat while you’re driving.
- Rest up: Make sure you’re rested prior to starting your shift. Often times than not, a truck driver is trying to juggle his/her workload while trying to participate in family gatherings. It can become overwhelming and the element of fatigue becomes a hazard.
- Maintain your truck: Summertime can really take a toll on trucks, so make sure your truck is well-maintained. During the summer months, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure more regularly to avoid blowouts. If your tires are underinflated, fix the problem as soon as you can.
While many, if not all of these tips apply and benefit trucks year-round, implementing small safety procedures can make a big difference for you, and everyone else on the road.
Looking for more insight on how to best stay safe on the road? Check out our ultimate guide to truck driver safety.