Most of us take Holiday weekends in stride, which is fine. It is a 3 day weekend to relax for. This weekend is the ‘official’ start of summer. We should isolate for a moment and reflect on a safety thought.
Typically, a lot travel on this weekend is discretionary and recreational, similar in many ways to regular Saturday traffic. It is instructive to bear in mind that statistically, Saturday is the WORST DAY OF THE WEEK for auto accidents.
For travel by auto, this weekend is the rough equivalent of three Saturdays in a row.
In other words:
* If you need to travel, leave really early and avoid 9 am to 4 pm car travel
* Avoid night-time travel as much as possible
* Use interstate highways as much as possible
* Concentrate on driving, minimize distractions
* Check your rig, air up your tires
* Select the best vehicle suited to the highway, distance, loading, etc.
* Make sure you are well rested for a long drive. Avoid 'marathon' drives. Allow enough time for the journey.
If we can achieve safe travel, usually the rest of the recreational interval is fairly steady, unless you're doing something high risk like bridge jumping. It won't hurt to do a simple mental check for whatever safety protocol your sport or activity requires- i.e. - water, athletics, camping, fishing, boating, spelunking, etc. There is a safety protocol for practically every human activity. Make sure you're aware and following it.
The moral of this story is that Virginia records about 2 1/2 traffic fatalities per day on average, including pedestrians, motorcyclists and increasingly bicyclists. During big Holiday weekends, this number jumps to 5 fatals per day. A 3 day weekend equals about 15 obituaries. Make sure YOU and your loved ones are not among them.
Safety is a relative concept. There are a lot of high risk-takers out in the general population, and most of them are even not aware of it. At least if you KNOW THE RULES, and you still choose to break them, this is called a 'calculated risk'. The danger to us is when we may be around people who do not understand or are ignorant of the activity risk factors and just barrel along in oblivion.
If we can maintain a good Defensive Posture in whatever activity we are doing, particularly while driving, we'll have a much improved chance to enjoy the Holiday. Let's stay alert and THINK.
We want everyone back from the Holiday, well rested and relaxed. Thank you for keeping a SAFE ATTITUDE.
John Meola is from Invincia Insurance and is a speaker at NPE. His 2015 seminar topic: Top 10 Safety Practices for Pavement Maintenance Contractors