Spring is still in bloom, but it is never too early to start preparing for the busy summer travel season. Memorial Day is just around the corner, and to travel to popular destinations across the country. In the southeastern United States, destinations such as Savannah, Georgia, and beach towns along Florida’s Panhandle see an influx of tourists during the summer months. Going out of town or not, you should be prepared and practice safe driving when traveling in the summertime.

With the influx of vehicles on the highway, traffic and congestion can quickly build up and increase the likeliness of an accident occurring. Between 2017 and 2021, there were 2,191 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in the United States during Memorial Day, and in 2023, the Georgia Department of Public Safety reported 16 traffic fatalities during the 78-hour holiday period. To keep you and your passengers safe, consider some of these important tips from American Trucking Associations when driving.

  • Slow down: Chance of a crash nearly triples when driving faster than surrounding traffic. Spring and summer are periods when work zones are busiest. It is important to reduce speeds when traveling through those areas.
  • 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 professional truck driver in his or her mirrors, then they can’t see you.
  • Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won’t be anxious about arriving late. Road conditions could change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
  • Understand congestion patterns: High traffic volumes lead to greater opportunities for accidents, so plan your trip to avoid traffic bottlenecks and increased traffic volumes. Use the Georgia Department of Transportation’s for travel information.

In addition, drivers should be mindful of the increase in temperature around this time of year. In 2022, the average temperature in Georgia around May to June was 109 degrees Fahrenheit. High temperatures, particularly during a heat wave, can increase the number of car breakdowns. With that in mind, there are several ways to stay safe and beat the heat while on the road.

  • Make sure to check the air conditioning unit in your car, especially the cabin air filter, before heading out on a long trip. Doing so can prevent heatstroke and prevent you and your passengers, especially young children, from overheating.
  • Maintain and change the coolant in your vehicle to ensure your car’s engine functions and performs properly in the hot weather.
  • Inspect hoses, wiper blades, and belts and make sure there are no signs of bulges, blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber.
  • Check the battery and make sure it has enough charge before leaving for your destination. The extreme heat in the summer can affect the battery’s performance. A fully charged automotive battery should be at 12.6 volts or above.
  • Tire pressure goes up in higher temperatures, so periodically check pressures throughout the trip.

Those are just few important things to be aware of, and drivers should always make sure to properly maintain their cars throughout the various seasons of the year. Following these tips and precautions will help to make the Memorial Day holiday safe and enjoyable for all. Safe travels to wherever the holiday takes you!