Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday drivers should think safety

From Staff Reports

news@newnan.com

Automobile travel remains the dominant mode of transportation for Thanksgiving travel plans.

Approximately 90 percent of all travelers, or 39.1 million people, plan to drive to their destinations, say AAA representatives. AAA reminds drivers to utilize safety precautions and recognize “Move Over” laws in their respective state. This will help protect everyone on the roadways from stranded motorists to emergency response vehicles.

It is critical to have an action plan if you become stranded in oncoming traffic as result of a car crash or vehicle breakdown. An estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle related fatalities in the first quarter of 2012. That represents a 13.5 percent increase from the same time period in 2011, according to the National Highway of Traffic Safety Administration.

“When you are stranded on the roadside in oncoming traffic, some practices are safer than others,” said Gerry Gutowski, senior vice president, Automotive Services, The Auto Club Group. “Regardless of if you are in a car crash or your car breaks down while you are driving, there are important actions you can take to help protect you and other occupants in your vehicle.”

Since every situation is unique, it is difficult to advise people to be safe in every scenario when they are in the path of oncoming traffic. AAA recommends stranded motorists call law enforcement immediately if they feel unsafe and are concerned other motorists may not see them.

“Everyone should pay attention and keep their eyes on the road to make sure they can respond quickly if they come upon a disabled vehicle,” said Gutowski.

How to stay safe when stranded on roadside

Motorists stranded on the roadside should always take extra precautions to make sure everyone in their vehicle is safe, says AAA, including:

• Pull off to the right side of the road. Try to pull over onto the shoulder where you are not in danger of getting struck by traffic.

• Turn on your hazard lights. Make certain your vehicle is visible to other drivers by turning on your vehicle’s emergency flashers. If your lights do not work, exit the vehicle.

• Exit your vehicle opposite the side of oncoming traffic. If you exit your vehicle, wait as far away from it and traffic as possible. Try to stand on a sidewalk or behind a guardrail.

• Call the police for assistance. If you are concerned for your safety and need assistance with traffic control, call local law enforcement for help.

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