How Can I Avoid a Car Accident During Memorial Day Weekend?

memorial day weekend

The Memorial Day holiday is a great time to remember the sacrifices made by so many service members. The holiday often centers around gatherings with friends and family. If the weather cooperates, you may enjoy time outside. For some, you may travel a long distance to enjoy the long holiday weekend with family and friends you may not have seen for a long time.

Too often, travelers will have alcoholic beverages during the Memorial Day celebrations and then still drive long distances back home. If you plan to celebrate the holiday away from your home, do not plan on driving back home if you are drinking. This discussion provides other tips on how you can stay safe during Memorial Day weekend to avoid getting into a car accident.

Prepare for Your Trip

Whether you are traveling across town or across the country, make sure you prepare for your trip by planning out your route and any alternates. You may have made this drive hundreds of times, but Memorial Day weekend usually sees quite a bit more traffic than normal, so you will want to be certain that you know an alternate route in case traffic gets too bad.

You do not want to try and figure out another route if traffic is too heavy or there is a bad accident. You should already have that planned so that you can simply switch routes if needed.

Avoid Distractions

Good advice for any road trip is to put your phone away. If you need it for directions, make sure you use the driving function so your phone does not alert you to incoming texts for which you may feel pressure to respond immediately.

If you are traveling with other people, make sure they know that you need to focus on driving, especially if you are traveling in bad weather or heavy traffic. Have passengers keep conversations to a minimum so they can help you stay focused and avoid dangers.

Stay the Night

If you are visiting friends or family far away from where you live, plan to get a hotel room. Especially if you plan to drink alcohol during the Memorial Day festivities, it is better that you not attempt to drive a long distance, or any distance, back home.

For longer road trips, getting a hotel room will also help to keep you refreshed and awake during your drive. When you drive without getting enough sleep, your body reacts in similar ways to being drunk. Avoid catastrophe by staying over at your destination and driving only when you feel refreshed and awake.

Do Not Drive at All

If you are staying close to home to celebrate Memorial Day, consider not driving at all. Living in a major city gives you access to public transportation that will make it much easier for you to travel close distances.

When you do not drive, you do not put yourself or others at risk if you choose to celebrate a little too much. By leaving your car at home, you eliminate the chance that you will think you are okay to drive. 

Check Your Car’s Fluids and Tires

If you are driving, make sure you prepare your vehicle for the road trip. Even if you are going a relatively short distance, it is a good idea to make sure your car’s fluids are topped off. Here is a checklist:

  • Oil
  • Coolant
  • Windshield wiper fluid

You should also check your car’s tires. You never know what kind of weather you will encounter, so make sure your tires are in good condition by using the penny trick. Turn a penny upside down and stick it in one of your tire’s treads. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tires are nearing the end of their life and should be replaced before you hit the road.

Follow the Speed Limit

Because there is so much traffic on the road during the Memorial Day weekend holiday, be cautious. Make sure you follow the speed limit. If other drivers want to go faster, let them pass. Do not engage them in poor driving habits.

Also make sure you follow other posted traffic rules. Many people are in a hurry to get to their destination and may try to speed through a stop sign or red light. Make sure you follow these laws so that you do not end up in an accident with one of these people rushing to their destination.

Drive Defensively

Defensive driving is another tip that applies any time you hit the road. Driving defensively means that you are focused on the task at hand. You are not letting yourself be distracted, and you are following the rules of the road. 

When you drive defensively, you are more likely to be able to avoid accidents, even when someone else would have been at fault. You are likely driving a bit slower and more prepared to hit the brakes if something unexpected happens in front of you. 

Watch Out for Impaired Drivers

We all know the signs of a driver who has celebrated a bit too much at their Memorial Day cookout. They may swerve a little in their lane. They may be slow to go at a green light and slow to stop at a red light.

Spot these drivers and be prepared to take a different route. Although you cannot control what everyone else does on the road and you cannot control whether they decide to drive after drinking too much, you do have control over your own actions and your ability to spot these drivers. When you see them, take another route if possible.

Keep Right, Except to Pass

Too many drivers forget this rule today. The left lane on a highway is only for passing. Many drivers who drive well over the speed limit think it is okay for them to just park in the left lane because no one else is going to pass them. If you see someone like this, do not engage them. Move over.

It is not your job to block them or try to slow them down. That will only enrage them. Your job is to make sure you and any passengers get to your destination safely.

Be Prepared for Bad Weather

Even though Memorial Day weekend falls at the end of May, the weather is still unpredictable. It is unlikely that travelers would have any snow, but they could face bad storms and cold weather. These can create hazardous situations for people on the road, resulting in more frequent accidents, longer delays, and higher aggravation.

The best thing you can do when bad weather strikes is to stay calm. You may get to your destination later than you planned. You may even have to turn around. That is a hard decision to make, but if your safety is a concern, it is best to pull over or go home and try again after the bad weather stops. With so many vehicles on the road and so many people trying to get somewhere quickly, you are more likely to get into an accident with this combination of factors. Always keep your safety the number one priority, even if it means missing out on some fun.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients During Heavy Travel Times

Memorial Day weekend is filled with fun times. The weather is getting better, and you can enjoy a long weekend with friends and family. Unfortunately, some people take that enjoyment too far and can cause car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, speak with the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton today to learn your options. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.