New Year’s Eve is certainly one of the most exciting nights of the year. People drink, stay up late, and generally have a blast. However, if you’re a truck driver you may be all too familiar with having to work on New Year’s Eve. You also probably know that it is the most dangerous night of the year to be on the road. People are more likely to go straight from the bottle to behind the wheel resulting in an increase in deadly accidents and DUIs across the country. In fact, over the past 5 years, there has been an average of 300 drunk driving related fatalities from the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Due to these staggering stats, I’ve compiled a short list of ways you can stay safe while driving on NYE.
Be aware of everything going on around you at all times. Constantly check those mirrors and look as far down the road as you can. On a night like NYE, you should always have an escape plan. For example, if there were a driver to your left you would want to plan out in your head what you would do if they suddenly veered right and into your lane. Is there another lane you would be able to move to? Would you have to pull onto the shoulder? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself when driving in traffic during NYE.
Do not be afraid to report a driver that may be operating their vehicle under the influence. If they are swerving all over the road, veering out of their lane, or exhibiting any type of dangerous driving you should call the police. This may not only save you from being involved in an accident with that driver but could also save the lives of others down the road.
If you’re a truck driver chances are you are already constantly monitoring the road conditions and checking for inclement weather. It’s especially important to do this on NYE though. Think about this, it’s hard enough to react to your vehicle hitting a wet spot or patch of ice and keep it on the road and when someone is operating a vehicle while impaired, their reaction time will be significantly worse. Bottom-Line: alcohol + dangerous road conditions + decreased reaction time = potentially deadly accidents. Just take it slow.
I would recommend keeping a seven-second gap between your rig and the vehicle in front of you. That may seem a little drastic but before you shrug off the seven-second rule let’s take a look at the numbers behind it.
Let’s say you are traveling at 60 mph. In seven seconds you would cover 616 feet. If you are being attentive it may take you up to 2 seconds to react. That leaves you with only 5 seconds to either come to a stop or move out of the way.
If you’re a good driver, chances are you already take all of the above precautions. New Year’s Eve is a crazy night out on America’s highways so just be sure to be as defensive of a driver as you can be. At the end of the day, taking your time and being safe is never a bad idea, especially on NYE.
Make sure to check out the Truck Driver Power app. It’s completely free for hard-working truckers to use and its intelligent weather feature can help you plan for inclement weather during NYE. You can also fill out your profile, turn on the Hire Me Now feature, and start receiving real job offers from carriers.
(Originally published on Medium)