With one of the most dangerous driving weekends of the year approaching, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 415 people may die on the roads during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. Following a year with increased motor vehicle fatality rates across the country, NSC urges all Americans to plan ahead and practice defensive driving over the long weekend, beginning Friday, May 28 at 6 p.m. and ending Monday, May 31 at 11:59 p.m.
“Many people choose to travel by car, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per miles traveled,” said Mark Chung, vice president, roadway practice at NSC. “As family and friends gather for the holiday, we not only call on everyone to spend time together safely during the ongoing pandemic; we also ask everyone to do your part to ensure you and your loved ones get to your destinations safely.”
Five tips for travel to destinations near and far:
- Prepare before you go – before hitting the road, make sure your car is safe for driving. Vehicle owners should check their oil, put air in their tires and check for and repair open recalls. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to see if your vehicle has an open recall and get it repaired for free.
- Drive distraction-free – thousands have died in crashes involving cell phone use. Put your phones away and #JustDrive.
- Slow down – speeding is a factor in more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities. Drive the speed limit and do not exceed it. Be sure to pay attention for those walking and biking in order to keep all road users safe.
- Designate a sober driver – or arrange alternate transportation. Alcohol is only one cause of impaired driving. Drugs, including opioid, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines – can impair by causing drowsiness, altering visual functions and affecting mental judgement and motor skills.
- Buckle up – seat belts are estimated to have saved 374,276 lives. Buckle up, while also making sure you have the appropriate car seats installed correctly.
Review supplemental information about the Memorial Day holiday fatality estimates, and additional motor vehicle data and research at injuryfacts.nsc.org.