AAA is reminding travelers to celebrate the upcoming Labor Day weekend safely and responsibly.
“Safety should not take a backseat while celebrating,” said Kara Hitchens, AAA Senior Specialist. “Driving while impaired is illegal and puts the driver, passengers and other road users at risk of serious injury or death.”
AAA auto travel counselors expect thousands of Ohioans to take one last vacation within a three-hour drive to popular destinations such as Put-In-Bay, Hocking Hills and Louisville, Kentucky. Many families are preparing children for school, so they make plans closer to home, according to Hitchens.
Labor Day weekend is one of the deadliest times of the year for drunk-driving fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Labor Day weekend in 2016 had 43 percent of nationwide crash fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking.
There were approximately 3,000 crashes with 24 deaths, 10 being alcohol-related, in 2017 over Labor Day weekend, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
According to Hitchens, AAA expects to rescue hundreds of Miami Valley area motorists due to dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires as the leading causes.
AAA offered these tips for those traveling this weekend:
- Check gas prices: check AAA's gas price site at gasprices.aaa.com. The national gas price average holds steady for the weekend at $2.84, according to Hitchens.
- Check your vehicle's tires, batteries and fluid levels.
- Have everyone in your vehicle wear their seat belts.
- Never drink and drive. Plan ahead for a designated driver or organize a ride if you plane to consume alcohol.
- Plan ahead and map out your travel route.
- Eliminate distractions such as cellphones.
- Be mindful of construction and emergency workers on the roads.
- Fill up the gas tank to avoid being stranded.
- Have an emergency road kit equipped with cell phone, car charger, flashlight with extra batteries, first-aid kit, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables, emergency flares, drinking water and extra food for travelers and pets.