Recent reports show that prices at the pump are at the lowest they’ve been in a long time. In fact, gas prices for Labor Day 2016 will be the cheapest they’ve been for the holiday weekend since 2004. What do low gas prices and the fact that more Americans are getting on the road for the holiday weekend mean for travelers? Here are five things you have to watch out for this Labor Day weekend, particularly in terms of traffic safety.
1. Danger on the Roadways
Cheaper gas prices, unfortunately, have unintended bad consequences. One is that there are more drivers on the road, which means there are more accidents and fatalities. The National Safety Council (NSC) reported this month that the number of car accident fatalities rose 9 percent in the first six months of 2016 compared with the same period the year before. The increase in accident and traffic deaths has been on the upswing since 2014. For the busy, three-day Labor Day weekend that is just around the corner, the NSC is forecasting that 483 people will die on the nation’s roadways, the highest total since 2008.
2. Drunk Drivers
This coming holiday weekend marks the end of summer, which means a lot of people will be out partying and participating in gatherings with family and friends. This also means that more drivers will be under the influence of alcohol. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 750 people have died in DUI crashes over Labor Day weekends from 2010 to 2014, and that 83 percent of Labor Day deaths happen between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. So, if you’re driving this Labor Day weekend, look out for drunk drivers, and never drive if you have been drinking.
3. Distracted or Fatigued Drivers
Drivers who are looking at their cell phones or GPS devices or operating the vehicle while fatigued are also hazardous during the Labor Day weekend. NHTSA reports that with every passing year, car accidents caused by distracted or fatigued drivers are on the increase.
4. Bad Weather
Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate with Labor Day weekend getaways. If you plan to drive long distance, be advised that there are many parts of the country that have heavy rain and tropical storms in the forecast. Slick roadways can cause dangerous conditions for drivers.
5. Bad Traffic
Labor Day weekend and Labor Day itself, is always ranked among the worst times to be on the roads because of increased traffic. If you are planning to get away for the weekend, plan your trip carefully. Plan to leave a day before so you don’t hit peak traffic. Tempers also tend to flare when traffic gets bad. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see more incidents of road rage during the long weekend.
We wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!