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summer-safety-2017Did you know that on July 4th, 1776, the historical day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, only 2.5 million people were living in the newly formed nation? According to the Census Bureau presently over 325 million Americans now reside in the United States, many of whom will be gearing up to celebrate the nation’s holiday by heading out on a road trip.

With so many fellow Americans to share the Independence Day festivities with, safety for everyone is crucial; which is why MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance offer some important summer driving safety tips to consider while making your summer travel plans.

Routine Safety Checks

Before you and your family pack up the vehicle with beach and barbecue supplies, it’s important to conduct a basic check of your entire vehicle to ensure all of the key safety features are functioning properly. Make sure all fluids, wiper blades and vehicle lights are in optimal condition and don’t need to be replaced or adjusted. It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit in your vehicle; double check that everything in your kit is fully stocked in the event of an emergency.

Wear Your Seatbelts

Certify that all seatbelts in the driver and passenger seating spaces are functioning properly. It is equally as important to confirm that everyone is wearing their seatbelts before you’re on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), unbelted passengers account for more than half of the casualties in vehicle crashes each year. Make sure everyone is protected, and don’t even start your engine until one and all are buckled in!

Stay Alert During Heavy Traffic

As our nation’s population grows, so does traffic congestion, especially around the time of major holidays. If you encounter highway backups during the July 4th weekend or other summer travel, remember to stay vigilant and avoid any driving distractions. Heavy highway traffic, or delays caused by vehicular accidents, are a known source of secondary accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), every minute a primary incident remains a hazard on the roadway, the likelihood of a secondary crash increases by 2.8%. Thankfully, MassDOT’s Highway Assistance Program sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance is on the road, ready to respond when incidents occur.  Just as they are out on the highways helping keep motorists safe, you can do your part to reduce the chance of secondary accidents by staying focused and alert.

MassDOT’s Highway Assistance Program, sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance, includes the Highway Assistance Patrol (HAP), which patrols routes in Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield & Cape Cod (seasonal) during peak coverage hours, Monday – Friday, 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. with extended hours on the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and extended holiday routes in heavy traffic areas. In addition to the HAP vehicles, MassDOT operates an Incident Response Vehicle (IRV) fleet of flatbed tow trucks, also sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance. IRV’s assigned to Interstate 93, the Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge, Ted Williams Tunnel, Sumner Tunnel and Callahan Tunnel patrol 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

On behalf of MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance, have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU, AIM, AIS, Executive Vice President – Business & Clients, MAPFRE  Insurance

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