Labor Day weekend marks final stretch of deadliest driving days

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- Labor Day weekend usually marks the unofficial end of summer--and it also marks the final stretch of the 100 deadliest driving days of the year.

This weekend, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) is encouraging travelers to take extra precautions as the number of drivers, especially young people, and the combination of increase distractions and impairments make summer travel more dangerous.

An average of 260 teens are killed in auto crashes each month during the summer, which is 26% higher than other months of the year, according to We Save lives, a high safety advocacy organization.

The APCIA also warns about driving under the influence, specifically under the influence of marijuana.

“The 100 day stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day is historically the most dangerous on roadways, especially for young drivers. Now with all but 16 states allowing some legal form of marijuana use, there is even more reason to be concerned about the potential dangers on the roads,” said Christy Thiems, senior director, policy, research, and international, APCIA. “There is an urgent need for increased public awareness of the dangers of marijuana, more comprehensive research to develop an impairment standard and better methods for law enforcement to measure the effects,” Thiems said.

The APCIA says to keep these tips in mind for safer driving:
1. Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Remember, just like driving drunk, driving high is illegal. Evidence shows that marijuana use can impair critical abilities necessary for safe driving, such as attention, reaction time, lane tracking, and cognitive and executive functions. Whether you’re high or drunk, your judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time are impaired.
2. Avoid distracted driving. Never hold the phone, text, or use apps while driving. Try to limit other distractions, such as eating and be aware that having more passengers in the car multiplies the opportunity for distraction. Secure pets in the back of the car.
3. Buckle up. Whether you’re traveling to see friends or family or just running errands, buckle up and drive safely. Seat belts save lives and help prevent injuries. Also, make sure kids are in the proper car or booster seats.
4. Plan ahead and allow extra travel time. With more people on the road, often driving in unfamiliar territory, the potential for auto crashes increases. Plan routes in advance when traveling to new destinations to avoid being distracted by the GPS.
5. Observe speed limits. Stay focused on the road and aware of changing traffic patterns caused by construction. Enforcement penalties for texting while driving are often higher in construction zones.
6. Have a plan for roadside assistance. If you are involved in a crash, have the phone number for your insurer or roadside assistance program ready. Beware of towing companies that take advantage with excess fees and making it difficult for people to retrieve their cars.

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