It’s no secret that holidays can make the road the last place you want to be, especially on the 4th of July. Drunk drivers can make your work more dangerous and stressful than ever, and millions of people flood the highways leading up to the holiday trying to make it to cottages, camps, and beach houses.
The resulting congestion can leave you stuck in traffic for hours on end. Holidays in general see people lowering their guard, and that can lead to cargo theft.
With a little preparation and some foresight the holidays don’t have to slow you down at all. There are plenty of things a driver can do to make sure they’re on schedule, relaxed, and enjoying our Nation’s celebration of independence no matter where they are. Here are a few helpful tips to make this 4th of July a breeze.
In order to encourage safe driving and keep accidents down, many law enforcement agencies organize blitz-style enforcement spikes, dramatically increasing the manpower on the highways and lowering the threshold for what kind of drivers they’ll pull over. In 2012 PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said, "Every year we see an increase in travel during the holiday season, and unfortunately we also see more crashes.”
In an effort to avoid these crashes, many states will set up checkpoints to screen for things like seat belt usages - which help keep motorists safer but also slow traffic to a crawl. Be aware of these potential changes to the flow of traffic and plan accordingly.
Setting a Safe Tone
Truck drivers can help keep roadways safe by being extra alert on and around the 4th of July and by setting a good example. Ted Carlson of FedEx Freight says, “The Fourth of July is a special holiday for many Americans – and in particular many truck drivers.
By exercising a little caution and common sense, we can all do our part to ensure the holiday remains a festive and happy occasion for all Americans.” Driving slowly and extra carefully in high-traffic areas can help set a safer pace, and may even save lives.
Know Before You Go
Due to the increased volume of traffic around holidays, many states will suspend all road work to ease congestion as much as possible. However, many projects can’t be interrupted, and some road work will continue unabated right through the 4th of July.
Make sure to check the local news and DOT Highway Advisory postings wherever your route takes you so you can make any necessary changes to your route and avoid getting caught in serious gridlock. Many GPS systems will keep you advised of changing roadwork conditions on your way and help guide you through any of the necessary detours.
Keep a Close Eye on Cargo
Because many shipments are left unattended over the Holiday weekend, cargo theft spikes around the 4th of July. According to FreightWatch international, over Independence Day weekends between 2010 and 2014, thefts occurring had an average value of $145,267, including eight separate incidents with a declared value over $250,000. Take extra care to secure your rig and remain vigilant throughout the weekend to ensure your cargo makes it safely to its destination.