Stay safe while driving this summer

This summer, it's a good idea for motorists to use extra caution on the highways. With Baton Rouge schools closing for summer break, families will soon be finalizing their summer vacation plans.

Whether you're heading for one of the Gulf Coast beaches to the west or east or heading to other Louisiana destinations, you will likely encounter traffic congestion at one or more points along your route. Traffic increases during the peak commute hours, which Baton Rouge residents can attest are already brutal. If you are lucky enough to go on vacation this summer, plan your departure outside of these times.

Staying safer on the highway

Driving after drinking is never a good idea, and with the increased traffic on the roads in summer, it's especially dangerous. If you plan to drink, arrange for a sober driver to take you home or use a Lyft or Uber service.

Below are some driving safety tips from the National Safety Council:

  • Buckle up. Every passenger and the driver need to be belted in, even for short jaunts.
  • Allow extra time. Anticipate that there will be delays and detours and plan your travel time accordingly.
  • Hang up the phone. Even hands-free smartphone usage creates dangerous distractions for drivers.
  • Put the kids in the back seat. Save the "shotgun seat" for older teens and adults. Kids and "tweens" are safer in the rear seats.
  • Be a defensive driver. Stay alert and mindful of the driving patterns of the motorists ahead of you. Watch for signs of impaired or distracted drivers and give them a very wide berth.
  • Get plenty of rest. Plan to get a good night's sleep before heading out on the highway. If possible, switch driving duties with another driver. Solo motorists should take frequent driving breaks on long trips.
  • Watch the weather. Louisiana residents know our weather can change very fast when squalls blow in from the coast or even across Lake Pontchartrain. Be prepared to slow down in inclement weather.

Be prepared for the worst

When an accident occurs, drivers need to know what to do to seek assistance and preserve their rights. Be proactive and make sure that your insurance coverage (or that of the at-fault driver) is sufficient to meet your needs.

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