The St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety program is offering some suggestions for safer summer travel.
Whether you’re planning a day trip to the beach, heading to the woods for a camping trip, or driving your student to a college campus, a family road trip can a highlight of your summer.
Before heading out, make sure your vehicle is in good working order. To ensure clear visibility, check to see the vehicle’s window washer fluid is full and wipers are in good condition. Your safety is riding on your tires, so take time to ensure that they are properly inflated according to the vehicle recommendations. The tire pressure guidelines and load limits are found in the owner’s manual as well as somewhere in the vehicle, such as the door edge, door post, glove-box door, or inside of the trunk lid
Make sure to secure your load properly when carrying items in a pickup bed or trailer. Loose objects hurling off a moving vehicle put every highway user at extreme risk. A study by the American Automobile Association attributes more than 200,000 crashes from 2011 through 2014 to these “roadway debris” incidents
Before a long road trip, make sure to get enough sleep. Never drive when impaired by alcohol or drugs. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are taking. Even some over-the-counter allergy remedies can impair your ability to drive safely, and some medications may interact with each other to affect alertness
All passengers should be buckled up with seat belts or with child restraints that are appropriate for the child’s age, size, and behavior. St. Lawrence County has fitting stations where parents can find out how to choose and use child safety restraints. Inspection stations across the state are listed by county on the Safe New York web site at http://www.safeny.ny.gov/seat-per.htm . A link to the national inspection station finder is also found on that page. Since fitting stations have limited hours and staff, it is best to call well ahead of time to schedule an appointment
When behind the wheel, focus on driving. No call or text is worth a possible loss of life for you, your passengers, or for other road users. Take frequent rest breaks to stretch, to return calls or texts, and to switch drivers if needed. Maintain a safe driving speed, and adjust your speed to traffic, road construction, and weather conditions
Share the road! In warmer weather, we may encounter an increase in bicycle, motorcycle and pedestrian traffic. In our rural area, we may also need to share the road with slow-moving vehicles, such as farm vehicles, Amish buggies or draft animals. When passing, wait until it is safe and legal
The driver in the opposite lane has the right of way, so you should wait until that lane is clear and sight distance is good before attempting to pass. Always allow at least 3 feet passing distance between your vehicle and bicycle or slower-moving vehicle
Also, allow a safe following distance between you and other vehicles. This is especially true for following motorcycles. Since they are lighter than vehicles, they require a shorter distance to stop
A 3 or 4 second following distance is recommended
Finally, slow down and exercise due care in construction zones, near the scene of a collision, or near a disabled vehicle. The “Move Over” Law requires drivers to slow down near stopped vehicles with red, amber, blue or green flashing