This weekend is shaping up to be one of the biggest vehicle travel weekends we’ve ever seen. Baldwin County reports projected number of visitors this weekend may set records.
The volume is especially high as we come off a stay-at-home-order in Alabama. As one of the first gulf coast communities to allow short term rentals, Alabama is seeing a surge in out of state vehicular travel. Residents of the Gulf Coast are reporting dense traffic on roadways, with travelers from all over the country. Needless to say, the traffic going to the beach, including traveling through areas like Birmingham, will be significant. This weekend is already one of the deadliest according to historical data. The National Safety Council reports that the average number of traffic deaths during Memorial Day weekend over the last six years is 9.4 percent higher than the average number of deaths during the comparison periods. The Memorial Day holiday, along with other summertime holidays (Independence Day and Labor Day) , have the highest average fatality rates per day.
Make sure that you keep speeds down in dense traffic. This will allow you more time to react. And we all know what happens on travel weekends like these— someone is in the left hand pass lane going 10 mph below the speed limit. Most people know that slower traffic is required to stay in the right lane and that left lane is for passing only— in other words, its not your own lane to travel. However, if the left lane is blocked, do not pass in the right lane. I can’t tell you how many times I see wrecks involving angry or impatient drivers who had to pass someone in the right lane. This ends up resulting in you moving back and forth between lanes and causing a dangerous situation for the other travelers on the roadway. As my father used to tell us… the numbers don’t add up— you aren’t going to make up enough time with your speed and dangerous maneuvers to justify the risk.
Lastly, people are excited to be out of quarantine and they are able to finally go to bars and restaurants. There will be folks who make poor choices and drive while under the influence of alcohol. I tell everyone this, but it’s especially true this weekend: Don’t assume the other driver is going to do the right thing. Whether that’s using a blinker or choosing a designated driver, ALWAYS drive defensively.
Enjoy the weekend and stay safe. If you do find yourself in a situation that you need my help, please give us a call, even over the holiday weekend at 205-582-2723