Published On: Thu, Aug 25th, 2016

Road Safety Tips for Massachusetts Drivers

Whether you drive to work every day or only get behind the wheel for weekend getaways, it can never hurt to get a refresher on the rules of the road.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Highway Safety Division (HSD) of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) provide tips on road safety.

General Road Safety

Keep these basic tips and laws in mind while on the road.

  • Wear a Seat Belt — Massachusetts law requires that all occupants wear a seat belt in private passenger vehicles. Seat belts are your best defense in a crash. Passengers and drivers who don’t wear them increase their risk of injury and death by up to 50 percent.
  • Don’t Text and Drive — The Safe Driving Law bans all drivers from texting or using the Internet. Drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using any mobile device while driving, even when stopped in traffic.
  • Avoid Distractions — Minimize distractions in the car by reviewing directions before you start driving and securing your pets. Whenever you drive, avoid smoking, eating, drinking, or doing anything else that could distract you from the road.
  • Use the Right Car Seat for Your Child — Choose a car seat that is appropriate for your child’s age and size. Children must ride in booster or car seats until they’re 8 years old or over 57 inches tall. Make sure the car seat is installed properly according to the Massachusetts Child Passenger Safety Law. The Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Program provides guidelines on how to select and install a car seat.
  • Move Over for Emergency Vehicles — The Move Over Law in Massachusetts requires drivers to move to the next lane and reduce their speed when approaching an emergency or maintenance vehicle.
  • Call 9-1-1 — If you see a crash, call 9-1-1 to report it.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive drivers can be a danger to themselves and those around them. If you encounter an aggressive driver, make sure you:

  • Keep out of their way
  • Avoid eye contact and ignore any gestures they make
  • Drive defensively by anticipating mistakes they may make
  • Report any aggressive driving you see to the police

Respect others on the road by being sure to:

  • Obey speed limits
  • Observe traffic signals and lights
  • Follow the two-second rule to avoid tailgating
  • Not take out your frustrations on other drivers

Drowsy Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)more than 7,000 people have been killed in crashes linked to drowsy driving in the United States over the last decade. Stay awake and alert on the road by following these tips to avoid drowsy driving.

  • Check Your Condition Before You Drive — Don’t get behind the wheel if you’re sleep-deprived or taking medication that makes you drowsy.
  • Watch for Signs of Fatigue — If you start to feel drowsy, have trouble focusing or keeping your eyes open, or hit rumble strips on the road, you should pull over.
  • Refuel — Take steps to avoid a crash by stopping for breaks, napping for 20 minutes, or drinking something with caffeine in it.

Work Zone Driving

Stay safe and avoid penalties in work zones by following these tips.

  • Expect Changes and Pay Attention to Signs — Be alert and obey signs and directions when approaching a work zone.
  • Slow Down — Reduce your speed and drive cautiously. Remember, speeding fines are doubled in work zones.
  • Report Road Hazards — If you see dangerous conditions or roadside hazards, pull over and call 5-1-1 to report them or have a passenger call for you.

By driving carefully and respecting the rules of the road, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip no matter where you’re going.

Share these tips with friends and family to help keep them safe on the road. Comment below or tweet @MassGov with questions.

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