Memorial Day weekend is a time to celebrate the sacrifices made by the men and women of our U.S. military. Additionally, for many, it is also an excuse to eat, drink, and be merry with those we hold close. For most of you partygoers, there will be a designated driver, or ride-sharing service in order to get you back home.
While we commend your safe and smart choices, it’s also worth noting that the roads can be quite unsafe, even for the most sober and safe drivers out there. So, as a precaution, we are offering a few driving tips to help keep you safe, alert, and free from issue as you head back to your house after the annual Memorial Day weekend celebration.
Memorial Day Weekend: Driving Safety
Allow for extra travel time
The best thing you can do to keep yourself from getting into an accident, is to avoid rushing to your destination. Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest times of year to be on the roads. Obviously, there is no way to avoid someone having to drive— so make sure you task every possible precaution when you’re doing so. Leave ten minutes earlier than you need to and take your time…
Cell phone down, eyes up
As we have mentioned, you need to give the road your full attention. Expect for drivers and road conditions to be unpredictable. Furthermore, expect there to be more police than usual out on the roadside during Memorial Day weekend. After all, they’re more than aware of how common drunk driving is during the holidays. In many states, ours included, texting and driving is punishable by law. So, for plenty of reasons, keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Don’t drive drowsy
We already know that you aren’t driving drunk, however, driving drowsy can be nearly as dangerous. While you aren’t under the influence of alcohol, you are distracted and tired. If you find that the end of the night is nearing and you’re beginning to doze off— consider taking a quick snooze before you hit the road. Or, drink a cup of coffee or an energy drink to help you make it home safely. While you might not want to stay up all night as a result, you need to make sure you aren’t falling asleep at the wheel this Memorial Day weekend.
Ride-sharing safety has been a hot topic in the media recently due to a number of incidents surrounding people getting into the wrong vehicles. In doing so, many people have ended up in harm’s way. Now, upon calling one of these services, you get a notice: check the license plate, check your driver, and be aware of every step along the way. While rider safety is absolutely a top concern— so is driver safety. We often focus in on the customer, while ride-share service drivers are just as much at risk of facing danger…
Ride-Share Service Drivers: Safety Measures
Be aware of pickup/drop off areas
Let’s face it: there are certain areas within every city that can are more likely to be dangerous. We don’t want to classify any rider, or resident, as a good or bad person. However, some areas merely present more of a risk. You might not want to put your riders into a box, but especially when driving late at night— consider the area you’ll be going into. Your rider might not be a problem, however, knowingly putting yourself at risk is ill-advised for ride-share service drivers — and riders too.
Consider a recording device
Depending on the state you’re in, there might be certain rules and regulations to using a camera inside of your car. However, in many areas, you merely have to tell the people in your car that they’re being recorded. Having this added feature is an insurance policy for you, and your vehicle. You might discourage riders from behaving badly, breaking the law, or doing something they might have considered before seeing that they’re under careful watch. This doesn’t have to be threatening— just a security measure.
Don’t take personal calls
Aside from security measures, also consider safety measures. Many people who have used a ride-sharing service have seen their driver take a personal call or answer a message before. You have a personal life, and people to communicate with. However, understand that you have a responsibility to keeping your riders safe. Keep your eyes on the road, and your hands on the wheel. Furthermore, make your riders change their destination within the app if they choose to do so. It’s an easy, quick change for them. However, it is another distraction if you have to do it yourself.
Take a break
Lastly, as ride-share service drivers, you have the unique opportunity to make your own hours. This is an undeniable benefit. However, many drivers will also put themselves in a compromising position by driving through the night. Uber and Lyft limit their drivers in terms of how long their shift can be. However, when and how you drive— is entirely up to you. Therefore, some drivers will choose to a 12 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. shift, or something similar. While this is likely a pretty profitable shift— it’s important that you take a moment here and there to stop for food, water, coffee, and a quick stretch. You want to avoid fatigue and keep your senses sharp for the long road ahead.
When it comes to following the rules, you probably like to think you’re a law abiding citizen. However, we all do things from time to time that fall outside those lines of what’s allowed, and what’s not. Take, for example, the basic road rules. Merging correctly, making full stops at a stop sign, legal turns… While these little things might seem harmless— breaking basic road rules from time to time can be quite dangerous for you, and the drivers around you…
Basic Road Rules & How We Break Them
Failing to Use Turn Signals
While you might be an exception to the statistics, it is a fact that most people don’t use their turn signals in the ways that they should. Turn signals are essential to following basic road rules, and making drivers aware of what you’re up to. Before switching lanes, before turning at a light, a stop sign… Any time you’re making a move on the roadway— use your turn signals. Without using them, you fail to give other drivers a heads up or warning. Therefore, they don’t have the opportunity to react in a safe manner.
Making Illegal Turns
When you’re running behind, you might begin to let some of those basic road rules fall to the wayside. Take, for example, making legal turns. Many of us think that doing so is harmless— especially if the street around you is clear. However, illegal turns are illegal for a reason. In most cases, these areas are marked for illegal turns because that area is too dangerous, or unpredictable. Due to the design of the road and environmental factors, you probably cannot see clearly enough to execute the turn safely. While it might seem like a calculated risk, accidents do happen every day.
Riding in the Left Lane
Of all basic road rules, this one falls to the wayside most often. It can be considered a courtesy to move out of the left lane when you aren’t matching the speed of surrounding cars. However, it is ultimately just the correct way to use the roadway. If you are planning to travel slower than the “normal” speed of traffic, stay to the right lane. By doing this, you allow others move by you easily and safely. In addition, you keep the left lane open for drivers to pass safely and return to other lanes.
While these are nothing more than basic road rules, they hold safe driving principles. They are in place to make the roads safer and keep traffic flowing better. Therefore, no matter how unnecessary or inconvenient it may seem, stick to following these basic road rules.
Driving is something we mostly all do on a daily basis. Furthermore, most of us are aware that there are certain things we could do to become better, and smarter drivers. When considering your New Year’s resolutions, you might consider making some in terms of your driving— and even riding. While we drive all the time, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re good at it. So, let’s think about ways we can improve…
New Year’s Resolutions: Driving Smarter and Safer
Back seat driving
While this New Year’s resolution doesn’t directly apply to something you do while driving, it’s definitely something that can make a big difference for those you frequently travel with. Something to consider if you know that you are, or even have been called, a backseat driver— is how productive your advice really is.
There’s a certain line between making the driver aware of an impending danger— such as a red light, or someone speeding through the intersection. However, giving random directions, pointing in their face, or making unnecessary suggestions often does more harm than good. In fact, it could even cause an accident.
Cell Phone Use
It’s actually quite surprising how many drivers continue to use their cell phones when driving— especially given the new, strict laws that prohibit it. Distracted driving in any capacity is quite dangerous for other drivers, and yourself too. There are many statistics that go to show how dangerous being on your phone while driving can be— similarly as dangerous as drunk driving. If you find yourself speeding too much time on your phone, especially when behind the wheel— making that your New Year’s resolution might be a positive change worth making.
Furthermore, and just as important a New Year’s resolution as using your cell phone, is drunk driving. Drunk driving is a dangerous, reckless, and sometimes fatal decision to make. While you might do it regularly, and avoid police or accident, there’s no saying when that luck might run out. Therefore, turning the tide for yourself might be the difference between hurting yourself, someone else, or getting a DUI.
Becoming More Aware
Lastly, and a strong one to consider, is getting becoming more aware of your surroundings. Many of us function by using a GPS on a daily basis. Maybe you know your direct area, but not much more than that. Therefore, when the GPS dies, you might find yourself stranded. Consider taking a few hours on your next weekend off, and driving around your city. Get familiar, and become a better driver in the process. Being better aware of your surroundings is one of the best New Year’s Resolutions you can make…
If you live in North or South Carolina, chances are you’ve heard of reckless driving before. Maybe you have a friends who has a charge of reckless driving, maybe you have, or you’ve just heard it on the news. No matter your relationship to the term, it’s important that drivers understand what this charge is, and how to avoid it.
Reckless Driving in NC: Understanding the Law
In North Carolina, there is a statute for reckless driving. Under the statute, reckless driving charges can be made when… (in words that are easier to understand):
- Someone driving on a highway, or ‘public vehicular area’ (PVA) with disregard and a lack of care towards the rights and safety of others.
- Driving in a PVA without caution, and at a speed that endangers others, or the proper of others.
If you are driving a commercial vehicle that needs permitting to be on the highway, the driver is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor in these cases:
- Driving carelessly, or in disregard of the rights and safety of others.
- Without caution, or in a manner that could endanger others or their property.
Someone may face conviction for reckless driving if they’re driving with neglect towards others, or their property. Reckless driving is typical when you’re traveling at high speed, and can often be cited like a speeding ticket. Of course, this applies to your every day passenger car drivers. But, when it comes to a commercial vehicle? The issue becomes a bit more serious. After all, your vehicle has the potential to cause a lot more damage.
A piece of terminology used in these statutes is: ‘willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others’. The court understands that not every single instance of speeding has this. In most cases, it comes down to an inquiry into the facts of the case, and whether you meet certain standards.
Finally, to avoid this type of ticket, it mostly comes down to making sure that you observe the speed limits, drive with caution, and do your part to keep the roadway safe. Most people will speed at some point in their adult life, that’s just common sense. However, reckless driving can be particularly damaging to your driving record, and the wellbeing of yourself and others.