My family never thought this day would come, but my younger brother is graduating high school this Memorial Day weekend! In all honesty, I am incredibly proud of him and all that he has accomplished. I know he has a very bright future and I am looking forward to watching where his success leads him. I am thrilled I get to go back to my childhood home this weekend to the land of Cardinals baseball and Blues hockey (despite last night’s loss) to help him celebrate his achievement. What I am not looking forward to, however, are the 833 miles that lie between me and home. This roughly-twelve-hour drive through some of the least scenic parts of the country is mind-numbingly boring. If you’ve ever had to drive straight across I-70 through Kansas, you know what I’m talking about. It’s going to be just me, the open road…and the 38 million other Americans that will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend. What’s going to make the drive even worse, I’ve already counted 13 work zones along my route home.
Memorial Day weekend typically marks the start of summer. Most children are out of school, most pools open for the season, and it’s likely the first three-day weekend of the year with consistently nice weather. Because of this, families are traveling, which means there is a significant increase in cars on the roadways. Unfortunately, more drivers equal greater chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. In fact, according to an article published in USA Today, Memorial Day weekend is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road because of the sudden influx of additional drivers.
I’m sure drivers are already going to be frustrated because of the additional congestion over Memorial Day weekend, but add work zones to the mix, and yikes! According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were an estimated 67,523 motor vehicle accidents that occurred in work zones in 2013. Of those crashes, an estimated 47,758 people were injured and an additional 527 were killed. Speed was a factor in 28% of the fatal crashes. Rear-end crashes (running into the rear of a slowing or stopping vehicle) were the most common type of work-zone crash. And the driver was typically the person injured or killed.
Bottom line, drive to arrive alive, not only this holiday weekend, but any time you get behind the wheel. There is never a reason to drive erratically, especially in a work zone. To put things in perspective, it takes less than one additional minute to drive 45 mph through a two-mile work zone than it does driving at 65 mph. Additionally, don’t follow too closely behind another driver. You never know when they are going to brake. A car travelling 50 mph requires 300 feet to come to a complete stop. You don’t want to not make it and end up liable for damages, or worse, the psychological damage of having hurt or killed someone else. It is also important to remember to never, ever get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And always wear a seatbelt.
Even when you do everything right, an accident can happen at the hands of another driver. This by no means stops me from that long, dreaded drive to see my brother graduate and enjoy time with my family this Memorial Day weekend. It just means that I will do everything in my power to be the best driver I can be. And it doesn’t hurt to know that if something happens along the way and I am involved in a motor vehicle accident, I have the number of a very good attorney.
By: Tatum Tipton