Intercepting Safety Risks: AAA Oklahoma’s Tips for Football Season & Labor Day Travel

Oklahoma City — As Oklahomans gear up for Labor Day Weekend football games and trips to the lake, AAA emphasizes the importance of safe driving practices and vehicle preparation.

Taking steps to prevent vehicle breakdowns and not driving while intoxicated or “intexticated” can be the difference in making holiday weekend memories great. The odds of distracted and impaired drivers on the road will increase.

During the 2021 Labor Day holiday, 483 crashes occurred throughout the state — with 53 of those identified as alcohol and/or drug-related — according to a report from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Twelve people died; the highest in five years.

AAA reminds drivers to have a plan if drinking or using drugs is likely to be part of holiday activities.

“Before you head out, have a plan on how you are getting home,” warns Rylie MansuettiAAA Oklahoma spokesperson.

“Select a designated driver for the day, use a ride-share service or a cab, or just stay over with a friend instead of taking a chance with your life and others’.”

In recent years, distracted driving has become as great a concern as impaired driving, according to AAA. Wrecks due to “intextication” kill an average of nine people and injure 1,000 each day, nationally, analyses estimate.

Game days and lake travel increase road congestion and require intense driving concentration.

“Using an electronic device in any way while driving increases your risk of a crash as much as eight times. Put it out of reach before you leave,” says Mansuetti.

Based on last year, AAA Oklahoma expects to get calls for rescues from nearly 3,000 motorists over the four-day Labor Day weekend. Other drivers passing by can endanger lives of those with roadside breakdowns.

Get out of your car and as far away from oncoming traffic as possible while contacting help or trying to make repairs. Motorists approaching disabled vehicles on the shoulders or roadsides must move over a lane, if possible, or at least slow down, following Oklahoma state law.

Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members and other drivers will experience car trouble.

Ahead of Labor Day weekend travel, AAA recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair facility — such as AAA Car Care Centers in metro-Oklahoma City and Approved Auto Repair shops statewide. Free inspections are often available by appointment to prevent problems that might not be apparent. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chance of a breakdown and expensive repairs.

“Have a plan for unforeseen car problems before you head out,” Mansuetti says.

“An AAA membership gives peace of mind for only a few dollars a month. Our trained car technicians will respond around the clock and are much more reliable than family or friends to help you get on your way quickly.”

Before heading out, consider downloading the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad & Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Notes: AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 63 million members nationwide and more than 400,000 members in Oklahoma. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com.

CapitolBeatOK.com is based in Oklahoma City and shares use news with readers. Pat McGuigan, publisher and founder of ‘CBOK’ is a member of AAA. He received no compensation for preparing this story, which is provided as a public service.