Drive safely during Labor Day holiday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Driving during the holidays can be dangerous.

Even though you might be abiding by the law, there are others out there that are not.

Below are some driving safety tips to keep in mind while traveling this Labor Day.

Whether you're going to the beach or to a family members home in a neighboring county, we want all Crenshaw County residents to come home safely.

– Keep your children in the back seat of the car. Buckled in the center of the back seat, the child is farthest away from the impact of a head-on collision, which can cause the most serious injuries. It also safely removes the child from the passenger side air bag.

– On longer trips, keep your children occupied. Before leaving for the weekend, work with them to put together an &uot;entertainment kit&uot; that will keep them busy. Your kit should include favorite toys, books, audiocassettes, portable games, etc. Make sure the kit is lightweight and easily transportable, so they don’t become projectiles in the event of a crash.

– Bring plenty of snacks.

Those long trips will appear shorter and be more enjoyable if you bring along lots of goodies (crackers, fruit, pretzels, juice, etc.) for your family to munch on.

– Be sure that your car seat fits your child. Whether your child is an infant, toddler or older kid, each should have the proper car seat that best meets their safety needs. Your child’s car seat should have a snug harness with shoulder straps in the correct slots, and a retainer clip that connects just slightly above the child’s chest. Just as important, make sure that your car seat fits securely in your vehicle and can be easily removed and adjusted.

– Have your car seat facing the correct position. It is a vital necessity that infant car seats face the rear, because it absorbs the force of the crash and protects the infant from neck and spinal injuries.

– Don’t leave your children alone in the car. Even if the child is sleeping or you’re just making a quick stop at the store or to use the restroom, bring them with you and keep them in your sight.

– Don’t overload the car with people. Make sure that every member in your family has a designated seat belt or car seat. If you transport more people in your vehicle than you have seat belts, you may not have adequate insurance in the result of a crash. Don’t share seat belt or have a child sit on someone lap — it’s not worth the risk.

– When your child needs care or attention, don’t try to drive while tending to his or her needs. Simply pull over to the nearest traffic-free space.

– Don’t keep children on your lap while driving. A grown-up’s arms are no substitute for a safety restraint. If the adult is not wearing a safety belt, the child could get crushed between the adult and the windshield or dashboard.

– Practice safe family travel for both short and long trips. More than 75 percent of all crashes happen on short trips at low speed. So, even if your family is traveling only a few miles through town, make sure you take the same precautions that you would on a long trip.