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Getting away over the Labor Day weekend can be a fun experience and one last chance to have a summer vacation, but you need to take a few precautions when driving to make sure you get to your destination safely.

  • “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is an initiative of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) that goes into effect across the country beginning August 19 and lasting until September 7. Drunken driving is one of the deadliest yet also entirely preventable crimes.1

The Importance of Seat Belts

  • Seat belts can help save your life or reduce the severity of injuries if you’re in an accident. Everyone in a vehicle should be securely buckled in. According to various studies, seat belts are 45% effective in preventing fatalities for front-seat passenger seat occupants.

Drinking and Driving

In 2018, alcohol-related fatalities (those with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or higher) represented 29% of the total traffic fatalities. Even one alcoholic beverage is one too many if you plan to drive. Plan ahead with a designated driver.

  • Using any impairing drugs, such as marijuana or certain prescription or over-the-counter medications, affects your abilities to drive, so plan for a safe ride home.
  • Take the keys away from a friend who’s been drinking and make sure they get home safely.
  • Use a ride-sharing app or call a taxi service so you don’t have to drive after drinking.2
  • Does another driver on the road seem to be impaired? Pull over safely and call the police. Signs to look for include someone driving erratically, too fast or too slow, weaving in and out of lanes. Make sure to give dispatch the name of the road or major intersection where the driver in question is traveling, as well as they’re direction.3

Make Sure Your Car is In Good Shape

  • Before heading out on any adventures, make sure you check (or have a mechanic check) your engine, radiator, fluids, steering wheel and brakes. Also make sure your tires are properly inflated and that you have enough windshield wiper fluid.4
  • Make sure you have a car emergency kit. Include in it at least jumper cables, a tire gauge, flashlight, a tool kit with wrenches and screwdrivers, rags and an emergency sign. Also include a first aid kit, bottled water and energy bars.5

Timing Your Trip

  • One of the easiest tips is to leave early. Leave before the rush hour on Friday, or leave early Saturday morning. On your return, if you’re driving on Labor Day, do the same early driving routine, avoiding late afternoon or early evening, if possible. Traveling before 4 p.m. or after 10 p.m. on Labor Day is generally quieter.
  • Prepare for Labor Day driving by planning your route in advance. A GPS or driving app can tell you fastest routes and alert you to construction or traffic issues.6

Using Navigation Apps

  • Apps are good not just for direction but for real-time traffic reports and arrival time estimates, but let one of your passengers play the role of navigator. Distracted driving, meaning that you’re looking at your phone while trying to drive, is a disaster waiting to happen.7


*This article was originally published by Merchants Insurance Group September 2nd, 2020.



2, 3, 7.

4, 5, 6.




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Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.