A little homework makes Spring Break travel smoother, safer
With loads of snow still on the ground across the country, it might seem out of place to let people know that--for much of the nation--this weekend brings a return to Daylight Savings Time. But it's true; early Sunday morning--2:00 a.m.--on March 9, we spring forward by setting our clocks an hour ahead.
Generally, that means more sunlight later in the day. But it also means an hour less sleep that first night, and--at least for a short time--it means darker mornings. With safety as our first priority here at DOT, we want to remind you to stay particularly alert behind the wheel while your body adjusts to the time change.
Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. As tragic as these numbers are, they only tell a portion of the story; experts recognize that drowsy driving is actually under-reported as a cause of crashes. And this doesn't include incidents attributed to driver inattention, which is often a complication of drowsiness.
Another ritual upon us now is Spring Break travel. Many students and families around the country are planning to either escape winter with travel to warmer climes or embrace it with ski and snowboard trips to the mountains.
If you're planning a trip, DOT has a couple of handy resources to help keep your travel smooth and safe.
For those traveling by air, reading our Air Travel Tips is a great way to start your trip on the right foot. As an aviation consumer, you have rights, and DOT has established protections to ensure those rights are honored by your airline. Extended delays and complaints about baggage handling have declined thanks to these protections, but should something go wrong with your trip, we also have steps in place to help you file a complaint.
And for those traveling by bus, the Motorcoach Passenger Safety page on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website offers tools to help you "Look Before You Book" your trip. From your mobile device, PC, or laptop, you can check the safety record of the bus companies you're considering for your travel with our SaferBus app or from the website. Parents concerned about their students' travel plans can also use these tools to check up on a passenger carrier's record.
In Florida and Arizona, Major League Baseball teams are going through spring training--an important destination for many spring break travelers--because they know the value of preparation. At DOT, we know it, too. That's why we've made these tools available to help you prepare for your trip and to help ensure that the travel you're planning is as smooth and safe as possible.