Ah, Labor Day… the beloved jewel of a holiday of Michiganders. Every year, it marks the end of Summer and the inevitable migration back to school schedules and fall activities. Many people in West Michigan will take advantage of this long holiday weekend while the weather’s still warm to travel, camp or just take a day trip to the beach. But with that large influx of traffic, comes a higher percentage of accidents, many of them fatal. In fact, Michigan State Police say that Labor Day weekend is the deadliest of all the holiday weekends and has been since 1972. But it doesn’t have to be! Stay safe, stay sane and still enjoy your holiday weekend this year with our 10 Tips for Labor Day Road Trips…
1) Get Your Vehicle Ready
Before you start putting the miles on, make sure your car, truck, minivan or SUV is road ready and road worthy! Start with the basics. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, your tank is full of gas and don’t forget to top off the washer fluid. It’s also a great idea to check to see if you’re due for an oil change and make sure there are no dummy warning lights illuminated on your dashboard that indicate an ongoing problem.
2) Fuel For Less
It’s no secret that gas prices can creep up just about the time you want to head out of town but it is still possible to get the best price before filling up the tank. Websites and apps like Gasbuddy, Gas Guru and TripTik can help you find which gas station near you has the best price in real time. This can be particularly helpful if you’re unfamiliar with the area but are looking for the lowest price or even a specific brand of fuel.
3) Know Your Route
Even if your destination is familiar to you, your normal way to get there might not be best way with the added inconvenience of road construction throughout West Michigan. While MDOT will be lifting traffic restrictions on 114 of its 155 projects there are some that will be impossible to avoid. You can see which roads will still be hampered by ongoing work zone and lane restrictions ahead of time by visiting MDOT’s website here. To get real time updates and suggestions to avoid accidents or find the fastest route, we recommend utilizing apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps or Waze.
4) Time It Wisely
Traffic conditions can and will change depending on peak travel times. Keep yourself out of the inevitable gridlock that happens during busy, holiday weekends on high traffic areas like 131 North or I96 through Grand Rapids by avoiding leaving during rush hour traffic on Thursday or Friday night and coming home before noon or later in the evening on Sunday.
5) Load The Night Before
Whether you’re taking a short jaunt or a further trip away this Labor Day, chances are that you’ll be bringing multiple items with you including bags, food and clothing. While you may not be able to pack a cooler full of food into your vehicle the night before your trip, there may be items that can be packed ahead of time. Save yourself some added stress when you finally have the chance to hightail it out of town by having all items that can be loaded into your vehicle that can be.
6) Buckle Up
Seat belts save lives! And wearing a seatbelt is not only a great idea but it’s also the law so make it a habit, not only on busy holiday weekends but every time you get behind the wheel of your car, van, truck or SUV, to put your seatbelt on. In addition, make sure children are properly buckled into car seats, booster seats or when they’re old enough, normal lap and shoulder restraints.
7) Stay Focused
Your number one job behind the wheel of a vehicle is to safely drive and in order to do that, you need to stay focused. Driving drowsy, distracted or impaired is not only unwise, it’s dangerous. Alertness is a critical factor to responding to situations correctly and in a timely manner. Anything that makes you less alert, diminishes that ability and increases your risk out on the road. So put away anything that takes your focus off the road.
8) Don’t Drink & Drive
With the end of summer and last hurrah of Labor Day, you may be tempted to get behind the wheel after having drinks with friends and family but think twice before you do. The cold, harsh truth is that every 51 minutes, someone dies from an alcohol related crash. Save yourself and others the heartache of being behind the wheel while intoxicated and celebrate the holiday either sober or find a driver who hasn’t been drinking.
9) Practice Defensive Driving
Safe drivers know that defensive driving dramatically reduces their risk of being involved in an accident. So what does defensive entail? From the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving course: defensive driving is defined as… “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” Defensive driving involves many things but can be broken down into: staying focused at the task at hand; scanning ahead for possible dangers or hazards in the road; creating a buffer zone around your vehicle; planning escape routes; staying alert; staying calm; controlling your speed.
10) Be Patient
Despite your best efforts to plan and prepare while traveling during the busiest weekend of the year, you still may find yourself stuck in the middle of heavy traffic. Give yourself and the others around you some grace and have patience. Remember everyone wants to get to their destination but the most important thing is that you make it there safely!
At Broadmoor Motors, we specialize in finding the right used minivan, truck, SUV or car to fit your personal or business needs, all while giving you the best deal we can on both your purchase and trade in. Our family has been in the car business for over 60 years and continues to be family owned and operated in all our Caledonia, Hastings and Wayland locations with financing available to those who qualify. We will find you the right vehicle to fit both your budget and your needs in a pressure free environment.
Let Broadmoor Motors save you time and money when buying your next quality, Pre-Owned Car or Work Truck and on your next Car Rental. Whether you need a short term car rental, long term car rental, a replacement while your vehicle is getting serviced or simply need to replace your car, minivan, truck or SUV with a great used vehicle, we can help you out. Broadmoor Motors is here for all your Car Rental, Car Sales, and Auto Service needs in the greater Grand Rapids, Wayland and Barry County area. Give us a call at 616.698.9595 in Caledonia, 269.397.2400 in Wayland or 269.320.6304 in Hastings to see how we can get you back on the road!