So how likely are you to get into a serious car accident on Labor Day weekend?  37% more likely.  433 people were killed during the Labor Day weekend in 2019 alone and thousands more were injured.  That stunning stat comes from a list called “The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer” and unfortunately New Jersey leads the way.

There are just so many of us. New Jersey is one of the most populated states in the country and with the masses you get mass confusion.  There are lots of innocent family fun excursions going on but that is not where the problem really comes in. Sure, more mass on the roads heighten the odds of an accident but throw one of the drunkest days of the year into the mix and it is really a bad scene.

So when you are traveling for your last minute vacation, barbecue, or road trip there are some tips that can increase your safety on the ride.

A website called Zutobi has analyzed the latest NHTSA data collected for the Labor Day weekend and prepared useful tips about safe driving on this high intensity weekend.

Don’t Drive Distracted

Distracted driving happens whenever you take your attention from the road, whether you’re eating, having a conversation, or texting a friend. Of course, it’s impossible to drive completely distraction-free, but there are ways to drastically reduce distractions.

● Put away your phone. There are many ways for drivers to reduce the number of distractions from their phone.

● If you’re driving to an unfamiliar place, input the destination in your navigation device before you pull out of the driveway.

● Text, eat, and do your makeup before you leave. Make an effort to plan ahead so you’re not forced to multitask while driving.

● If you want to listen to music, audiobooks, or the radio, keep the volume moderately low and be vigilant about keeping the majority of your attention on the road.

Keep a Safe Margin

These days the roads are usually very busy. You should have a sufficient distance to the vehicle in front so that you have time to react and safely stop or steer away to avoid a collision.

A general rule is to have at the very least a 3-second gap to the car in front of you, called the ‘3-second rule’. You can measure this by a simple test:

● Note when the vehicle in front of you passes an object (a road sign, building etc.) and count the seconds until you pass the same object

● If less than 3 seconds, slow down!

● If just above 3 seconds, it’s still safer if you slow down additionally

Keep Your Vehicle in Good Condition

Your vehicle’s condition is a fundamental component of safe driving. You could be the safest, most aware driver in the world, but without a safe vehicle, you’re still putting yourself, your passengers, and other road users at risk.

● Get your vehicle serviced. Some maintenance tasks, such as oil changes, need to be completed. It’s also a good idea to have a professional look at your vehicle to make sure everything is working well.

● Have warning lights checked. If dashboard warning lights (such as the check engine light) turn on, have your vehicle checked as soon as possible.

● Keep an eye on your vehicle lights. Especially if you drive mostly during daylight hours, it can be hard to be sure if your vehicle lights (headlights, brake lights, tail lights, turn signals, and license plate lights) are working, but try to check them every few months. You’ll also want to make sure that light covers aren’t clouded, cracked, or missing.

Don’t Depend on Other Drivers

● Always drive expecting others to make poor decisions, and have an escape route in case they do.

● Stay away from drivers who are speeding excessively, tailgating, weaving through traffic, switching lanes without signaling, or otherwise showing unsafe driving behavior.

Wear Your Seat Belt

Safety belts and car seats are one of the best ways you can give yourself and your children the greatest chance of survival if you crash. Make wearing your seatbelt a habit and ensure that children are in the right car seat type for their age and size.

Plan Ahead for Road Congestion

With more drivers on the road this holiday weekend there is likely to be more slowdowns and congestion. Drivers should plan ahead and leave extra time to ensure a timely and safe arrival. If possible, drivers should try to avoid traveling through the peak rush-hour times.

If You Are Drinking Sleep Over

Plan ahead, don't drive even if you had just one.

These are largely things I know you know but seeing a reminder can help you make a better plan. Please be safe out there!

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