5 reminders to keep drivers safe during holiday travel: AAA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A devastating crash over the weekend has resulted in the loss of three young lives and serves as a grim reminder of the risks associated with holiday travel.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, two children and a teenager tragically lost their lives in a collision that occurred on Saturday morning. The National Safety Council estimates that over 600 people may die during the Independence Day holiday period.

The incident took place on the bridge separating Florida and Georgia on I-95 South. A man driving with five passengers suddenly slowed down or potentially stopped in the center lane, leading to a catastrophic chain of events. Another driver behind them failed to react in time and collided with their vehicle, resulting in the fatal crash.

A 10-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy, and a 14-year-old boy lost their lives in the accident. Another 14-year-old boy was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition. The driver of the vehicle and a woman in the front seat also sustained serious injuries and were transported to the hospital. The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, and it remains unclear whether the victims were wearing seat belts.

The driver of the second vehicle, hailing from North Carolina, sustained minor injuries. The tragic news has left Brian Fernandez, a driver from North Carolina, deeply saddened as he embarks on his journey to Winter Haven. Fernandez emphasizes the importance of taking precautions while driving and hopes that others will do the same to avoid such tragic incidents.

With the upcoming July 4 holiday, road safety organizations are reminding motorists of the potential dangers and urging responsible behavior behind the wheel. AAA advises drivers to prioritize the following measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others:

  • Wear seat belts at all times.
  • Avoid drinking and driving.
  • Refrain from texting while driving.
  • Maintain the appropriate speed limits.
  • Keep a safe distance of at least 3 seconds behind other vehicles.

AAA and law enforcement also encourage drivers to report any erratic or reckless behavior they witness on the road. If possible, maintaining a safe distance and promptly dialing 911 can help prevent accidents caused by dangerous drivers.

Greg Driskell, the owner of a Jacksonville-based company focused on enhancing road safety, emphasizes the importance of swift reactions while driving, given how quickly circumstances can change on the road.

Driskell stresses that small actions can make a significant difference in preventing accidents. For instance, he highlights the importance of taking breaks to rest and avoid driving while fatigued, as drowsiness behind the wheel can lead to devastating consequences.

As the nation prepares for the Fourth of July travel period, it is crucial to remember the significance of responsible driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported 493 fatalities during the four-day Fourth of July travel period in 2021, with 201 of those deaths involving impaired drivers. By prioritizing safety precautions and vigilance on the roads, individuals can play a vital role in reducing the risks associated with holiday travel and preserving precious lives.

To keep everyone safe this weekend, AAA is activating its Tow to Go program in Florida, which offers a safe ride for would-be impaired drivers and their vehicles.

The program is active from 6 p.m. Friday, June 30 to 6 a.m. Wednesday, July 5. Free confidential rides are available to AAA members and non-members.

To reach Tow to Go, call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246.

About the Author: