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Stay Safe while Traveling on Labor Day 

Aug 25, 2022|

If you’re planning on traveling for Labor Day weekend, you’re not alone. This long weekend is one of the most popular travel times of the year. Over half of all Americans plan to travel over the Labor Day holiday, and 35% will take their weekend getaways by car.

But crowded airports and roads don’t mean you can’t enjoy a Labor Day weekend getaway. These tips will help you have a safer holiday weekend, no matter where you go.

An American flag held by two people billowing in the wind.
 

Why do so many people travel on Labor Day weekend?

Labor Day, which always falls on the first Monday in September, has been a national holiday in the United States since 1894, when President Grover Cleveland signed it into law. The holiday was designed to recognize and celebrate American workers and their achievements and work.

Labor Day is a popular vacation time for many reasons, including:

  • Paid time off. As a national holiday, schools, banks, government offices, and many businesses close for the day, and workers are given a paid day off. Many people choose to travel to take advantage of this paid vacation day from work.
  • No school. Labor Day marks the close of the summer, and many people take a family trip as one last hurrah before school starts back up and schedules get hectic.
  • Good weather. Although early September means the end of summer, it’s still pretty warm in many parts of the country. There is a lower chance of rain and snow, and temperatures aren’t as scorching as they were in the middle of the summer, making it an ideal time to travel—especially by car.

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Labor Day weekend travel destinations

If you’re curious where all of these people are headed, or you’re planning your own getaway, some of the most popular Labor Day travel plans include:

  • The beach/coast. According to Airbnb, which provides short-term vacation rentals, some of the most popular places people are staying during the holiday weekend are warm weather and coastal states, including Florida, South Carolina, and Miami, where people can enjoy relaxing on the beach, paddleboarding, or swimming in the ocean. All-inclusive resorts are also popular options.
  • National parks. Labor Day is a popular time to visit one of the country’s national parks, as the looming end of summer encourages people to enjoy outdoor activities and beautiful landmarks like waterfalls and mountains before the weather gets cold.
  • State parks. State parks are also a popular destination for those who want to take a last-minute or day trip and enjoy the great outdoors without driving too far. Many local parks offer activities like kayaking, hiking, and riding ziplines.
  • Big cities. Concerts, events, and long-weekend celebrations in big cities like New York City, Seattle, New Orleans, and San Francisco also draw people who like the hustle and bustle of crowds and big events.

Labor Day getaways don’t even have to be full-on vacations. One poll found that the majority of those taking a road trip will be traveling within 250 miles of their homes.

Safety tips for traveling on Labor Day

All the upcoming travel planned means an increase of cars on the road. Unfortunately, that also means an increase in traffic accidents; in fact, Labor Day is the second deadliest holiday for driving.

You can help keep your vacation from ending in a car crash (or worse) with these safety tips:

Get your car ready.

Before you head out on the road, make sure your car is safe to drive and prepare it for travel. Be sure to check the following and adjust if necessary:

  • Oil change
  • Fluid levels (wiper fluid, coolant, etc.)
  • Tire pressure
  • Brakes
  • Spare tire
  • First aid kit

You could also consider signing up for a AAA membership, which will provide roadside assistance if you need it.

Make sure your insurance and registration are up to date

A car accident is bad enough. But a car accident without the proper insurance coverage can be a financial disaster. Make sure your policy is up to date and you have the right amounts of coverage.

At the same time, you should make sure your car registration isn’t going to expire while you’re on the road.

Wear seatbelts, always

Not only are seatbelts required by law in nearly every state, but they can be a literal lifesaver if you are ever in an accident. In traffic accidents that did result in fatalities, 51% of the people killed were not wearing seat belts.

Seatbelts can also lessen the chance of serious injury. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, seat belts reduce the chance of fatal injury by up to 75%, depending on the vehicle and where the person is sitting.

Don’t drink and drive

This should go without saying, but never drink and drive. Nationwide, alcohol is a factor in 28% of traffic fatalities. During Labor Day weekend, that number jumps to 38%. Many people celebrate Labor Day with a barbecue, day at the lake, or other event that involves alcohol. Make sure you have a designated driver if you’ve been drinking, or call an Uber or Lyft and pick your car up the next day.

Plan ahead

Even spontaneous people who love to take last-minute trips will benefit from a little planning. Map your route out so you are aware of any road closures or major construction in advance. Not only will this help your trip go more smoothly, but it can also help if you find yourself taking a detour in an area you’re not familiar with and need to check your map last minute.

Teenage son handing his smiling father the car keys.
 

Stay safe this Labor Day

If you plan to travel for Labor Day, don’t let statistics scare away you from enjoying your vacation. Taking these proactive steps and being aware of your driving and your vehicle will help ensure your Labor Day is relaxing, fun, and—most importantly—safe.

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