WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation's top highway official launched a "check-in, check-up, check-out" program of holiday driving tips earlier this week. The tips are designed to help drivers steer clear of traffic congestion and delays and stay safe while on the road during the holiday travel rush.
Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters said drivers should first "check in" with travel information sources that help travelers plan trips and maneuver around trouble spots caused by traffic jams, construction areas, accidents, bad weather or other problems that may result in delays.
Travel information Web sites and telephone services sponsored by state departments of transportation are helpful highway information tools, Peters noted.
Since crashes and disabled vehicles cause 25 percent of highway congestion, Peters said drivers should give their vehicles a "check up" prior to holiday traveling. Preventive maintenance, such as checking for proper tire pressure and to see if belts and hoses need replacing, can help avert on-the-road breakdowns and the traffic tie-ups they cause.
Finally, Peters said drivers should practice safety when they "check out" for holiday travel. She encouraged drivers to pay attention to signs and flaggers in highway work zones, slow down in bad weather, avoid tailgating and make sure that they and their passengers use safety belts.
"We're working to take the frustration out of holiday travel," Peters said. "If more drivers check-in and check-up before they check right out of town for holiday trips, it will go a long way toward helping everyone get to where they want to go safely and on time."
Long-distance travel increases by as much as 23 percent during the December holiday period, according to U.S. Department of Transportation figures. About nine out of 10 holiday travelers use personal vehicles for their trips.
Peters visited the "Navigator" Transportation Management Center in Atlanta, Ga., to launch the holiday travel tips campaign. "Navigator" is a state-of-the-art system that provides Atlanta area commuters with real-time traffic information, including maps, trip times, weather conditions and accident reports. A new feature allows users to automatically receive customized information on the routes they take most often by e-mail, cell phone or PDA.
A complete list of the "check-in, check-up, check-out" holiday driving trips is available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/holidaytraveltips.htm.