About 29.2 million Americans will hit the road and travel more than 50 miles this Labor Day weekend—an increase of 4.2 percent from last year, according to data from AAA Travel.
Based on those numbers, the National Safety Council predicts that 394 traffic-related deaths will occur over the holiday weekend, a nearly 6 percent jump from 2012. The group also estimates that another 42,200 people will require medical treatment for traffic-related injuries.
The National Safety Council says red light violations are a leading cause of traffic accidents across the nation—and according to the group, these spike over Labor Day weekend, with more than 6,270 occurring during last year’s holiday. The group is therefore urging drivers to take extra precaution when driving through intersections, especially on Friday and Monday, which are expected to be the busiest travel days.
In California, one person is killed every two-and-a-half hours as the result of a traffic accident, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Last year during Labor Day weekend 35 people were killed in accidents on California roadways, and a news release from the California Highway Patrol states that nearly half of the 16 passengers killed were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of collision. CHP officers will therefore be beefing up patrol this weekend, and are reminding the public to always use a designated driver and always wear a seatbelt.
If you plan to take a road trip this Labor Day, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind before you hit the road:
- If you are involved in or witness a car accident that causes serious injury to a driver or passengers, Alarm.org recommends you avoid moving them unless they are in imminent danger, such as a car fire. If you must move an injured person, avoid twisting the neck or limbs. If the legs are crossed, for example, keep them crossed. If you must drag them, do so by pulling on the clothing above the shoulders or by the ankles.
- The Consumer Protection Association of America recommends drivers keep an emergency kit in their glove compartment. This should include a pen and paper for taking notes, a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries, contact information for immediate family, a flashlight, an extra set of batteries, traffic cones, and warning triangles or emergency flares.
- Even if your phone has a camera feature, drivers are advised to keep a disposable camera in their car in case their phones are damaged in the collision. GEICO advises drivers to immediately take photos of damage to their cars, as well as the accident scene—focusing on skid marks, vehicle positions, and location indicators, such as street signs and buildings. If there are witnesses, get their contact information or at least snap a photo of their license plates.
- The California DMV offers an accident report form, which you can keep in your car and fill out at the scene.