TodayApril 15, 2022

Memorial Day road trip – are you ready?

I was listening to my local CBS station this morning, and they project Memorial Day travel to increase 60% year over year. AAA forecasts that 37 million people nationwide will travel 50 miles or more away from their homes, many for the first time in over a year.

With Americans planning to hit the road over Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer, one wonders what we can expect to see on the road regarding driver’s behaviors. Certainly, speeding and using social media while driving will be on the top of the list. Unfortunately, there will be drunk drivers on the road, and the more cars on the road speeding along will most assuredly mean there will be more road rage. 

Driver’s behavior

It is important to become a defensive driver on holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day. Watch for drivers that are:

1. Texting or talking on the phone while driving – 

          leave these to your passengers:

Scrolling through photos, posts, or other content

Taking pictures 

Posting photos or videos

Watching or shooting videos

Commenting on other people’s photos or videos

2. Road rage                                                                  

3. Speeding                                                                    

4. Tailgating                                                                   

5. Failing to yield  

6. Driving under the Influence (DUI)

7. Looking at your GPS instead of the road

8. Talking on the phone instead of hands-free

9. Drivers that are falling asleep at the wheel 

10. A loose wheel that could come off another car

Be realistic – Are you and your car ready to roll? 

Most drivers kept up with their vehicle’s maintenance during the pandemic, but some tasks were put off. Make sure these five tasks have been taken care of before you get on the road:

1. Oil and filter change

2. Cleaning interior and exterior of the vehicle 

3. Tire rotation  

4. Checking tire inflation, tread, and general condition

5. Engine and cabin air filter changes 

May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, and June is National Safety Month. 

According to verifynow, women are 17% more likely to die in a car crash than men and are 73% more likely to be injured. In the media report, several members of Congress spoke out about this inequity and the need for immediate action:

“Automobile safety should not be reserved for just the average adult male. Our auto safety regulations must ensure that vehicles protect all vehicle occupants, including women, children, and elderly occupants. I look forward to working with my colleagues to end the disparities,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.

“I’m very surprised, and it’s very serious. It’s about safety. It’s about our family members; it’s about our constituents. If it takes legislation to get it done if it takes an appropriation to get it done, we need to get it done because we’re saving lives,” said Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL), the top Republican on the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, which oversees NHTSA.

“Women have achieved equality on the road, that is to say in driving, but when it comes to testing so that we are sure they are safe on the road, they are nowhere near achieving equality… It exists, but we have not updated what is required. Congress could mandate that the agency take the necessary action… But frankly, I think the easiest way to do it is to write the agency for an explanation of why they have not updated the technology,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who is the chair of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit 

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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