HUDSON — Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer, and for many, summer travels.
According to a study by Motel 6, 56% of Americans are more likely to take a road trip this year.
The Wisconsin DOT and ReadyWisconsin have advice for travelers driving this summer to stay safe.
“No matter how you are spending the extended weekend, it’s important to plan ahead and keep safety in mind,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator.
Here’s how to stay safe while traveling on the road this summer:
1. Be aware of road construction
Construction is still underway through downtown Hudson and North Hudson on Highway 35. A detour is in place across Interstate 94, into Minnesota and back on Minnesota Highway 36/Wisconsin Highway 64.
Other significant road construction projects are underway throughout the state. The Wisconsin DOT advises checking for road work before traveling. Travels can get up-to-date information on construction work online at 511wi.gov, by calling 511, on the 511 Wisconsin mobile app or on the @511WI twitter.
2. Make sure your vehicle is ready
Any vehicle that hasn’t been driven recently should be checked to be sure it is safe to travel in, WisDOT suggests. Inspections should include checking tire pressure, fluid levels and others as needed.
ReadyWisconsin also recommends keeping an emergency kit inside your vehicle. Kits should include fresh water, snacks and a first aid kit, as well as a cellphone charger.
3. Put the phone down
In 2019, Hudson enacted a hands-free law within the city limits. Like the Minnesota law, it prohibits drivers from using a hand-held phone or other electronic device.
Across Wisconsin, the use of hand-held devices is prohibited in work zones, and texting while driving is prohibited.
WisDOT recommends eliminating all distraction and staying focused on the road while traveling.
4. Follow everyday safe driving
Slow down, and be sure to follow all speed limits and take weather and road conditions into account. WisDOT reminds drivers they are required to drive at a “reasonable and prudent” speed based on both weather and traffic conditions.
All passengers should wear seatbelts, as required by law.
Vehicles are also required by law to move over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road, or slow down if moving over is not possible. Emergency vehicles include police and fire, ambulance, tow trucks and any highway maintenance vehicles.
5. Remember never to leave people or pets inside a parked car
As the temperature rises, people and pets should not be left inside a parked car, ReadyWisconsin advised. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels quickly, making it dangerous to be inside a parked car even for just a few minutes.
Gregory’s Gift of Hope in New Richmond reminded pet owners in a Facebook post not to bring dogs or cats with them on rides in hot weather.
“It might be just a quick trip but you can easily get side tracked and time flies by - tragedy happens,” the post said.