Memorial Day safety
The Memorial Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer, most evident as millions of drivers hit the road. It also marks one of the most dangerous times for traffic accidents, experts say.
We want our families, friends and neighbors to enjoy the holiday, and to arrive safely at their destinations while traveling on Oklahoma highways. So we urge drivers who must be on the road during the holiday - which extends this year from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 26 - to expect increased traffic and to prepare accordingly.
Here are some tips:
* Check your vehicle fluid levels, belts, hoses, and tires before you hit the road. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand vehicles by the side of the road.
* Plan your trip in advance: Before you get on a highway, input your destination or driving directions in cell phones or navigation equipment, know your route, and give yourself plenty of time. When driving plan ahead for lane changes and exit ramps. Drivers making sudden, unexpected lane changes or u-turns often cause accidents.
* Do not cut off large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
* Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots, and don't drive along side of them for extended periods. Passenger vehicles can be difficult for a truck driver to see, give them space and you may help avoid a wreck.
* Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on your driving: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even two seconds of distraction while driving doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
* Leave early and Slow Down: Leave early so you won't be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. expect roadway construction and other traffic delays. Extra highway congestion due to holiday travel makes speeding even more dangerous. Excessive speed gives you less time to react to conditions on the road, and makes you more of a risk to other drivers. Oklahoma Law enforcement officers will be out in force to protect public safety, do your part by slowing down.
* Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and are a simple way to protect your family on the road. It is also required by Oklahoma Law.
By being a safe responsible driver you can make this Memorial Day Weekend more enjoyable for everyone.