PROVIDENCE — With summer in full swing and the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association wishes to remind residents of important safety tips for motor vehicle and motorcycle drivers.
“Roadway safety is one of the most important areas we focus on throughout the year,” said RIPCA Executive Director Sid Wordell. “Through conversations with agencies such as Rhode Island DOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we found that despite the shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic-related injuries and fatalities were still an all-too-common problem on our roads last year. Now, as life returns to normal, especially leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, we can expect more and more drivers to be out and about.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Safety Council offers the following safety tips for drivers:
Motor Vehicle Safety
- Always wear your seat belt — and wear it correctly. It should go over your shoulder and across your lap.
- Never drink and drive. If you see someone at a party or celebration who plans on driving while impaired, take their keys away and make arrangements for them to get home safely through a designated driver or ride-share program.
- Drive the speed limit. It’s unsafe to drive too fast or too slow.
- Never eat, drink or use a cell phone while driving.
Motorcyclists are also reminded to take safety precautions. While motorcycles only represent a small percentage of vehicles on Rhode Island roads, they represent a significant percentage of those involved in fatal crashes, and this percentage is even more drastic when accounting for crashes involving alcohol.
- Always wear a helmet, and look for the DOT sticker (which guarantees the helmet meets safety standards required by law). Never buy a used helmet.
- Choose a bike that fits you; “supersport bikes” have driver death rates about four times that of cruisers or standard bikes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Invest in anti-lock brakes.
- New riders should take a motorcycle safety course, and experienced riders should take refresher courses after being off their bikes for a while.
- Never drink and ride.
- Drive defensively, especially at intersections, where half of all collisions occur.
- Assume you are invisible to other motorists and position yourself to be seen.
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing that is durable and boots that cover the ankles.
“You’ve heard it said many, many times before, but we cannot emphasize this enough — please, if you have been drinking alcohol or are impaired in any way, do not operate a motor vehicle or motorcycle,” said West Greenwich Police Chief and RIPCA President Richard Ramsay. “The Fourth of July holiday is a time to be with friends and family, and after the past year and a half we could all use some fun and celebration, but if your plans involve the consumption of alcohol you must do so responsibly — not only for your own safety, but for the safety of your friends, loved ones and all other motorists on the roads.”
The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association wishes everyone a safe and healthy Fourth of July holiday!