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Truck Drivers Offer Safety Tips For Thanksgiving Travel

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over 43.6 million motorists are expected to travel over 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving Holiday (Wednesday - Sunday), making it one of the busiest holiday travel times of the year.

(Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100129/ATALOGO)

A group of elite professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles are offering advice on how to navigate through highway traffic and arrive at your destination safely. Tips include:

  • Prepare you vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road before you leave your home.
  • Plan ahead:  Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
  • Do not cut in front of large trucks:  Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
  • Be aware of truck blindspots:  When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots.  If you can't see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you.
  • Check your emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
  • Be aware of changes in weather: Weather conditions across the U.S. will be changing - especially during early mornings and evenings with the cold. Watch for ice, snow and other weather related obstacles.
  • Keep your eyes on the road:  Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
  • Leave early and avoid risks:  Leave early so you won't be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
  • Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail and snow make roads difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather conditions, and travel during daylight.
  • Remove ice and snow from your vehicle:  Clear your windows and roof of snow to insure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don't allow ice and snow to create additional blindspots on your vehicle.
  • Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front so you can avoid snow and ice blowing onto your windshield or maneuver around patches of ice. 
  • Slow Down: With the extra highway congestion due to Holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of a space cushion and reduce your speed.
  • Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.

"Thanksgiving is a challenging time on the highways," said Share the Road Professional Driver Brooks Washburn (FedEx Freight).  "Between motorists visiting families or shopping during the start of the holiday shopping season, our highways are busier than ever.  There is nothing better than patience and safe driving practices behind the wheel, he added."

"Always buckle up," said Share the Road Professional Driver Tim McElwaney (ABF Freight System).  "Weather can also be a factor during this time of year so check weather conditions before you get in your vehicle," McElwaney added.

The Share the Road Professional Drivers would like to remind the motoring public that from driveway to highway, safety requires patience and dedication.

*Editors: Share the Road Professional Drivers in your area are available to speak about Thanksgiving and Winter safe driving tips during the holiday weekend.

Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually. The safety program is sponsored by Mack Trucks, Inc. and Michelin North America, Inc. www.atastr.org.  Follow the Share the Road on Twitter and Facebook.

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation's freight.  www.trucking.org.

SOURCE American Trucking Associations

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