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Bottlenecking, congestion, and traffic – oh my!

Tis the season to beware weekends and holidays

Posted May 31, 2024

Memorial day is the unofficial start of summer for the U.S. Along with the warm weather fun comes the uptick in weekend traffic trends. Anyone who has lived near a great swimming spot or a bustling metropolitan area knows traffic peaks on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, posing major risks to your summer driving safety. With these increased summer safety risks in mind, it might be time to remind your drivers to be vigilant over the next couple of months.

Road (rage) warriors

The first challenge your drivers face is others on the road. Even though fellow motorists pose a challenge all year long, the chances of being in a crash may increase as some highways become more congested due to vacations and weekend getaways. In some cases, it may be more of a matter of “when” a driver enters a specific geographic location than “where.” In the summer, the traffic exiting major metropolitan areas will be heavy on Friday nights/Saturday mornings.

The opposite may also be true. Your drivers may see a steady stream of vacationers returning from rural resort areas on Sunday afternoons and evenings. This means drivers need to complete proper trip planning to handle:

  • Bottlenecking
  • Increased general congestion
  • Sudden exit and lane-change maneuvers
  • Rubbernecking at accident sites (leading to sudden stops and starts)
  • Large recreational/combination vehicles (with inexperienced drivers behind the wheel)

Your drivers may see personal vehicles and trailers improperly loaded and secured and contents blocking the other driver’s field of vision. Remaining aware and knowing how to react are key to your drivers’ success during summer driving situations.

Construction junctions

Highway maintenance projects and detours are also common this time of year. Additional vehicles plus construction projects make the perfect formula for an accident, road rage, or just delays resulting in the loss of precious hours of service.

Dispatchers and drivers should check state DOT websites to learn where road construction is underway and of any potential delays. While enroute, drivers need to be alert to electronic signs along the highways that indicate delays or road closures. Drivers need to communicate these postings to dispatch for possible guidance on alternate routes.

This article was written by Lucero Truszkowski of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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