Memorial Day is for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as a Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868. Today is Memorial Day and I would like to say thank you to those who served in the military and died for our freedom.
Memorial Day is also the unofficial start to the summer vacation season. It is the time of year to travel, barbecue, swim, and get together with friends and family. Before we hit the road. let’s address some safety tips for driving and celebrating.
▪ Buckle up! It only takes a few seconds to buckle up your seatbelt and those seconds could save your life or the life of family and friends. Child safety seats are the law! A child passenger restraint system is required to be located in the rear seat of a motor vehicle until they are at least 8 years old, or are 4 feet 9 inches tall. If you are having difficulty installing the child safety seat or not sure you have installed it properly, please contact your local CHP office and make an appointment to have the seat checked.
▪ Have your vehicle serviced before you go! Checking the tread wear and air pressure in your tires can prevent trip interruption. It’s a good idea to check the condition of your spare tire, too. Always carry water, snacks, cell phone and a change of clothes. During the summer months, there is a significant increase in the number of vehicles on California’s roadways, so slow down and be courteous to other motorists. Families take to the highways for vacations and extended trips, and while these outings can start off as a happy occasion, they can also result in tragedy as a result of negligence, a failure to drive defensively, or taking the necessary steps to ensure safe travels. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) encourages you to always be prepared.
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▪ Don’t drink and drive! Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more is illegal, but even with a lower BAC, a driver may be impaired and may be taken to jail. A DUI conviction can cost you thousands of dollars, not to mention the possibility of seriously injuring yourself and another person. If you plan on drinking, don’t drive! Make a plan to get home safely and stick to the plan; always designate a sober driver.
▪ Hang up the phone! Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. A three-second message at 55 mph means you just drove an entire football field blind. Would you purposely drive with your eyes closed or in your neighborhood where your kids play? I hope the answer is no. Map your route or have a passenger navigate for you. Avoid the possibility of receiving a citation or being involved in a traffic collision this Memorial Day.
On behalf of the California Highway Patrol, Happy Memorial Day! Enjoy the day and remember the reason for the celebration.