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Truckers give Memorial Day driving tips

American Trucking Associations and ATA's Share the Road highway safety program are advising Memorial Day travelers to take extra driving precautions throughout the busy holiday weekend.

"We are all able to travel along America's open roads because brave men and women sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedoms," said Share the Road Professional Truck Driver Sammy Brewster of ABF Freight.

"During my time in the Army, one of the lessons they instilled in us was a dedication to safety. As a truck driver who spends my days on our nation's roads, I ask all Memorial Day travelers to be extra diligent this weekend."

AAA estimates nearly 43 million Americans will travel Memorial Day weekend, which marks the second-highest travel volume since AAA started projecting holiday travel volumes in 2000. AAA also forecasts 37.6 million Americans will drive to their final destinations, increasing the need for drivers to practice patience, planning, and safety fundamentals.

As America remembers the fallen heroes who fought to secure the country's freedoms, the trucking industry pays its respects by reaffirming its strong commitment to safety this weekend. Highly-trained professional truck drivers are responsible for moving more than $700 billion worth of freight each year, including summertime favorites like grilling supplies, food, beverages, pool floats and tubes, goggles, baseball gloves, sunscreen, and patio furniture. Having a safe start to the summer should be the main focus for all travelers this Memorial Day Weekend.

Trucking companies take pride in providing meaningful, rewarding work for veterans of the military who want to continue their service to the country by assisting in the transportation of its most essential goods. In fact, American Trucking Associations committed the trucking industry to hiring 50,000 veterans over the next 5 years during a July 19, 2018 ceremony at the White House.

"Professional truck drivers are responsible for making safe decisions every moment of our work days, and we want to equip other drivers with the same helpful information that we have," said Share the Road Professional Truck Driver Bill McNamee of Carbon Express. "By following a few basic safety protocols, members of the motoring public can ensure that everyone makes it home safely this weekend."

ATA's Share the Road program also helped launch the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration's Voice for Safety campaign this week to promote holiday travel safety. The Voices for Safety campaign uses authentic road users to offer safety tips to the motoring public. Campaign materials include safety videos, tips for passenger vehicle drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and truck drivers, social media graphics, and safety fact sheets to provide the public with plenty of tools to stay safe.

Share the Road professional truck drivers promote these safety tips to motorists, students, members of the media, and elected officials throughout the country while on tour with the Share the Road program. They emphasize the tips during major US holidays to remind motorists of all ages about key elements of safe driving, especially relating to operating small passenger vehicles near large tractor-trailers.

Buckle Up: Safety belts save lives. Day or night and even if you're riding in the back seat – wear your safety belt.

Slow Down: Chance of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic. The spring and summer are periods when work zones are busiest. It is important to reduce speeds when traveling through those areas.

Do not drive impaired: There is much to celebrate this time of year, including graduations, weddings and holidays seemingly every weekend. With that said, driving is a great responsibility and your fellow travelers are relying on safe, attentive drivers to respectfully share the road and make good decisions.

Be aware of truck blind spots: 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.

Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents, especially among younger drivers. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.

Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.

Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.

Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won't be anxious about arriving late. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.

Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead. Understand congestion patterns: High traffic volumes lead to greater opportunities for accidents, so plan your trip to avoid traffic bottlenecks and increased traffic volumes.

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 supported by TA-Petro, Pre-Pass, Hyundai Translead, OmniTracs, Mack Leasing, P.S.I., Shell Lubricants, and Bendix. Follow 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. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward.

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