With the holiday weekend approaching, it is estimated that more than 30 million Americans will take to the roads between Thursday and Monday. Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest holidays of the year, and with increased traffic on the road, the risk for accidents increases as well.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the number represents a slight increase from the same time in 2012 but well below the record (37.2 million) set in 2005. Nevertheless, drivers (especially teens and young adults) must remain vigilant and prepared for the risks that come with driving on a holiday weekend.
First and foremost, drivers (and all passengers) must wear seatbelts. Crash analysts estimate that wearing a seatbelt is the single most important thing people can do in order to survive an accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that seatbelts reduce serious injuries by 50 percent.
Also, it is imperative to avoid activities that fall under the category of distracted driving. This includes talking on cell phones (without a hands-free system), texting while driving, or using other mobile devices. Texting while driving is illegal in Texas, and offending drivers can face escalating fines.
Moreover, texting has been found to be more dangerous than drinking and driving, because of the attention taken off the road, and the likelihood of losing lane position while looking at a telephone screen.
These findings are especially important for younger drivers (age 18-24), as they have the highest rates of auto accidents among all drivers.
Source: ABC News.com, 31.2 million drivers to take Memorial Day road trip, May 22, 2013; CDC, Seatbelt facts sheet