There's a lot to do to get ready for a vacation, and many more of you are hitting the road for the long holiday weekend. This Memorial Day weekend is the first holiday in over a year where most COVID restrictions have been dropped and the world is finally feel more normal. Because of this many more will be on the road this year.
"This year, particularly compared to last year, there's about sixty percent more people who are traveling more than fifty miles from home." says Louisiana State Trooper Thomas Gossen.
More drivers, means higher chances for crashes. The most important thing you can do for you and your family is buckle up! Unfortunately in Louisiana, there are still too many who don't.
Gossen adds, "Unfortunately, we're behind the curve a little bit. We lack in seat belt usage by a lot. Of all of the fatalities we have right now, just under 50% were not wearing a seat belt."
Troopers would rather not need to visit surviving families, especially if the death is preventable. Gossen goes on, "We have to make death notifications to someone who was in a very minor crash who would have ultimately walk away. But we're making a death notification because they decided not to weather a seat belt. Something very simple."
With your car being parked more over the past year, you may need to have it looked over before you get on the road. At least check the fluids.
Brian Fournet, the owner of Fournet's Chevron says, "Check the oil, especially the oil. Check the transmission fluid and make sure you're up to date on all of your oil changes. That's the important thing. Get everything checked, your air filter, stuff like that."
And a low tech device like a tire gauge will not just keep you safe, but can save you money.
Fournet adds, "The harder the tire is, the better the gas you'll get. If your tire is rated for 35-45 pounds, go ahead and up it to 40. The higher the rating, the better your gas mileage is going to be."
Even though you might snicker at the whole inspection sticker thing, it does help!
"Fournet exclaims, "They check all your lights, your tire tread, your safety items. Getting all that checked is important, especially your lights, your brake lights too."
And of course, the usual tips, don't drive impaired or distracted.
"You don't have your eyes on the road when you're looking at your phone. If your texting, you're not driving. By law you're supposed to have both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. I think we've all been in close calls where we've almost been in a crash because you're looking down at the phone." says Gossen.
And police will be more visible of the next couple of weeks. Gossen says, "Right now, we're in our 'Click it or Ticket' campaign and it will run through June 6th. So we will have a little extra man power out there."
Also, don't forget your kid's safety.
Gossen adds, "Unfortunately, there's about a 95-98 percent misuse rate when it comes to child seats."
Allow yourself plenty of time. Don't get angry while driving. This way, you'll still be with us after the weekend!