August 28, 2019 – Football fans will be hitting the roads this weekend with college seasons kicking off. But the real difference in winning and losing can depend upon not driving while intoxicated or “intexticated”.
With Labor Day trips to the lake and other gatherings adding to the busy weekend, odds of distracted and impaired drivers on the road will increase.
Seven people died in vehicle crashes during the 2018 four-day Labor Day holiday. That’s a 75 percent increase in fatalities compared to the prior year, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO). Two of the fatalities occurred in alcohol/drug-related wrecks. In all, 490 crashes occurred.
AAA reminds drivers to plan ahead if drinking or using drugs is likely to be part of holiday activities. “Before you head out, have a plan on how you are getting home,” warns Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokeswoman. “Select a designated driver for the day, use a ride share service or cab or stay over with a friend.”
In recent years, distracted driving has become as great a concern as impaired driving, according to AAA. Wrecks due to “intextication” kill an average of nine people and injure 1,000 each day, nationally*. Game days and lake travel increase road congestion and require intense driving concentration. “Using an electronic device in any way while driving increases your risk of a crash as much as eight times. Put it out of reach before you leave,” said Gamble.
AAA urges friends and families to discuss how to stay in touch without taking distracted driving risks. “Reinforce your commitment not to drive ‘intexticated’ by taking the pledge at AAA.com/DontDriveDistracted,” Gamble said.
*****AAA Oklahoma expects 3,400 roadside rescues due to vehicle issues*****
Based on last year, AAA Oklahoma expects to get calls for rescues from 3,400 motorists over the four-day Labor Day weekend. Lives of those with roadside breakdowns can be endangered by other drivers passing by. Caution is urged if this occurs. Get out of your car and as far away from oncoming traffic as possible while contacting help or trying to make repairs.
Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility such as AAA’s Edmond and Northwest Oklahoma City Car Care Centers. Free inspections can prevent problems that might not be apparent. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
“Have a plan should you develop car problems,” Gamble said. “A 12-month AAA membership gives those traveling on busy roads to football games and to remote locations to enjoy nature peace of mind for about $1.50 a week. AAA’s trained car technicians will respond around the clock and are much more reliable than family or friends to help you get on your way quickly.”
Download the AAA Mobile App Before Labor Day Weekend
Before heading out, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
*National Highway Traffic Safety Administration