Many Californians will be hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend, but with more vehicles on the road, there’s more of a chance of an accident. This is especially the case when drivers are in unfamiliar environs whose rules they’re not accustomed to. To make sure that you’re safe, you might consider heeding the advice of those who have remained accident-free for decades.
The United States Postal Service seeks to honor those mail carriers who have driven one million miles without getting in an accident. Such a distinction isn’t easy to achieve. But of the estimated 300,000 mail carriers who are on the road at any given time, 9,385 have reached that milestone since 2005. Their tips are certainly worth listening to.
First, taking a defensive stance on the road is important, especially when you’re traveling far from home. In such situations, you don’t know what might be upcoming, and your aggressive maneuver in unfamiliar surroundings could cause a crash. Instead, respect the rights of other drivers. Make sure you switch lanes smoothly, and utilize your turn signal when both switching lanes and making a turn. You always want others to know your intentions. If a road sign says to do something, make sure you do it so that you know you’re not in violation of local laws.
You also want to keep ample space between yourself and vehicles in front of you. Go in with the mindset that the leading driver might have to slam on their brakes at some point. That should keep you at least one car length behind them for every ten miles per hour you drive.
You’re also going to want to have some type of plan of action in place should hazardous circumstances present themselves. Constantly gauging your surroundings is essential to such a plan. If someone cuts you off, you absolutely must be aware of any vehicles to either side or behind you. Your options dwindle the heavier the traffic, but you should always have some idea of what you can do to avoid a disaster.
Keeping this kind of focus on the road means that you can’t let distraction imperil your driving ability. Although a phone can act as a lifeline on a cross-country or upstate Memorial Day trip, it can also be a deterrent to safety. Keep your phone out of reach, and if you do need to send some type of communication, whether voice or text-based, have a passenger be the one who dials or chats.
Other tips include making sure your vehicle is in tiptop shape before you head out and taking extra precautions in those areas that you know generate a lot of traffic. Using signals in parking lots is also a good idea, as doing so lets drivers and pedestrians alike know of your intentions.