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As the warm weather starts to ramp up across the nation, so does traffic on local roadways and highways. Memorial Day is just around the corner, a weekend that saw over 38 million Americans hit the road for their holiday festivities in 2016.

In the Bay State alone, just under 800,000 residents had travel plans for Memorial Day Weekend, which is why the Massachusetts DOT and MAPFRE Insurance want to remind everyone to practice safe driving habits during the busy kick-off to the summer season.

With heavy traffic comes an increased risk of crashes, which is why it’s important to remember safety essentials like looking ahead 12 to 15 seconds down the road to better anticipate hazards.  As always, avoid distracted driving like using a smartphone behind the wheel.

motorcycle-safety-awareness-month-rmvMay is also Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Massachusetts DOT and MAPFRE Insurance want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of sharing the road with your fellow two-wheeled motorists.

Just under 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2015, a number that increased by over 8% since the previous year. Motorcycles lack the protection that an enclosed vehicle provides, and motorcyclist fatalities occur 27 times more frequently than in any other type of transportation vehicle, according to 2014 fatal crash data.

Motorcyclists are often much harder to see than cars due to their smaller size, in addition to the fact that drivers tend to focus more on the larger vehicles around them. Everyone can do their part to keep the road safer for motorcyclists by practicing safe driving habits. Some examples are:

  • When following motorcyclists, maintain at least a four second following distance, or more, especially during inclement weather.
  • Before making a left turn or leaving a traffic lane, be attentive to motorcyclists by carefully looking to the front and sides of your vehicle.
  • Never share a lane with a motorcycle; they have the right to use a full traffic lane and also need space to react to potential hazards.

As always, in the event that you do run into trouble while traveling, remember the Highway Assistance Patrol, sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance, is on patrol helping broken down vehicles or other motorists in need of assistance.

Have a safe and fun Memorial Day Weekend!

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

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