Start those engines: It's about time for another busy holiday travel weekend and the start of the summer road trip season.
- 43 million Americans will travel for Memorial Day
- 37.5 million Americans will be getting to their destination via four wheels
- AAA reminds everyone to buckle up whether in the front seat or back seat and to watch out for motorcyclists
"We're going to see nearly 43 million Americans traveling for this weekend, it is a record number and the majority will be taking road trips,” said Lindsay Kensy, a spokesperson for AAA of Western and Central New York. "We really want to remind people that if you are taking a road trip, check out your car before hand and try to curb the distracted driving."
Also remember to buckle up.
"A lot of people don't realize that when you don't buckle up in the backseat, you are two times more likely to kill the person in the front seat because you become a projectile,” Kensy said. “You are also three times more likely to die yourself."
Right now in Albany, changes to the state's seat belt law are in the hands of the Assembly. The state Senate has already passed a change that would require all back seat passengers to wear a seat belt.
Under state law right now, seatbelts are only required for people aged 16 and under.
In 2016, AAA released a report that studied crashes on state roads over the past 20 years. It found 886 unbuckled passengers died when they were riding in the back seat of cars involved in crashes. All of those people were over the age of 16.
"The laws of physics don't change whether your 14 or 84," Kensy said. "You really need to be buckling up if you are in the back seat."
May happens to be motorcycle and bicycle safety awareness month. AAA has some advice on how to share the roads.
"You need to make sure you are keeping an eye out for motorcycles," Kensy said. "It's that time of the year where we are not totally used to seeing motorcycles yet, so we really need to be paying attention."
That means it’s more important to be sure to use turn signals when changing lanes and turning. If driving behind a motorcycle, Kensy said people in cars and trucks should increase the distance between their vehicle and the driver on two wheels. This will provide more time to safely stop or maneuver in case of an emergency.
Kensy reminds motorcyclists that they “need to follow the same rules as cars” to help protect the safety of all drivers and riders as well.