Glen Larson Law Injury Attorneys know that summer is a popular time to take road trips to enjoy reunions with relatives, long weekends, and vacation time.
The Vacationer reported that nearly 80% of American adults say they will take some sort of road trip this summer. The 79.93% of people represent about 206 million Americans. Of those people, 18.34% of them, or 47 million Americans, will road trip more than 500 miles from home.
If you are planning a road trip, prioritizing safety is a crucial part of reaching your destination and returning home safely. Here are a few tips to help you.
Twenty Summer Road Trip Safety Tips
Before you put your car in drive to embark on a road trip this summer, follow these simple tips.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Checking your vehicle for any potential problems before you leave. Check tire pressure, brakes, lights and turn signals, and fluid levels. Be sure your spare tire is in good condition, and the car’s jack is in working order. Pack an emergency roadside kit with essentials like a flashlight, jumper cables, and a basic toolset.
Plan Your Route
Even if you are a faithful user of paper maps, planning your trip with the help of GPS or navigation apps can help you plan your route properly, accounting for road closures, construction zones, and traffic conditions along the way. Keep your physical map as a backup in case you lose your signal.
Get Rest Before You Go
Heading out on a road trip requires the driver to have all his or her faculties in tip-top shape, and a good night’s sleep will help. Whether it’s just you, or you and passengers, everyone is relying on you to be aware and focused to arrive safely. Fatigue compromises your driving ability, so if you are taking a long trip and start to feel tired, take a break as needed to rest, stretch, and reset.
Buckle Up and Secure Smaller Passengers
Everyone in the vehicle should always be wearing their seatbelts when the vehicle is in motion. If you are traveling with small children, be sure their car or booster seats are age-appropriate, secure, and that they are properly strapped in.
Avoid Distractions of All Types
Cell phones are a are a major distraction when driving, and their use can seriously endanger you and your passengers and others on the road. Never use your cellphone while operating your vehicle. If you must use your phone or GPS, pull over to let your GPS. Never engage in any other activity that takes your attention away from driving. This includes eating, grooming, moving things around in the car, looking at your passengers and fiddling with the radio.
Observe the Speed Limit
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, in the last year alone, speeding was a contributing factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities, killing 12,330 people nationwide.
To help keep the occupants of your vehicle safe and decrease your risk of being involved in a crash, obey the speed limit everywhere you go.
Do Not Follow Other Motorists Too Closely
It is advised that all vehicles keep a safe distance — at a minimum of three seconds — from the vehicle in front of them. A safe distance will allow you to react and potentially avoid a collision.
Proceed Cautiously Through Construction Work Zones
While the speed limit changes in construction zones, and everyone should be driving more slowly, other hazards remain. Pay close attention to changing lanes, closed lanes, uneven surfaces, construction equipment, and workers on the road, so everyone makes it home safely.
Help Keep Wildlife Safe
Many road trips involve driving in unfamiliar territory, including rural areas where deer and other wildlife walk across the road, oblivious to the dangers of passing vehicles. Watch for animal crossings and other warning signs and adjust your speed accordingly.
Include Snack and Water Breaks in Your Travel Timeline
Road trips can make for long days, especially when you are not properly hydrated or need a boost from a healthy snack. Pack water and your favorite snacks, so you are safe from dehydration or low sugar levels while behind the wheel.
Take a Break and Recharge
Look for safe locations to stop, rest, stretch, and recharge, so you are alert and at the top of your game moving forward. This is a perfect time to enjoy water and snacks, too.
Beware of Bad Weather
It is always advisable to check the local weather conditions along your route, so you know what to expect before potentially running into bad weather. This will allow you to adjust your plans, instead of enduring a dangerous storm behind the wheel.
Scan the Vehicle to Ensure Valuables are Out of Sight
Before getting out of the car to take a break, scan the vehicle for valuables that may entice someone to break in. Store all purses, backpacks, cellphones, tablets, and earbuds in a safe place, so they cannot be seen from outside the vehicle.
Remain Alert on Unfamiliar Roads
Exercising caution on unfamiliar roads will allow you to anticipate sharp turns, curves, and hills that could be hazardous when traveling at a higher speed. Slow down and pay attention.
Let Others Know Where You Are Going
Tell someone you trust about road trip plans, including your route and estimated arrival times. This may be someone who is expecting you, or someone at home who wants to make sure you get to where you are going safely. Check in periodically to keep them updated on your progress.
Keep an Eye Out While Refueling
The best place to stop for gas is in a well-lit, high-traffic area. This will help ensure you are not alone, in an unfamiliar area, and vulnerable to crime. If you must go inside the gas station, make sure all valuables are out of sight, and the vehicle is locked before walking away.
Do a Document Check Before Leaving the House
Do you have your driver’s license, a valid registration, and an insurance card readily available? Consider also making a digital copy, or taking a picture of each, just in case.
Emergencies Happen: Be Prepared
Identify hospitals or urgent care centers along your route in case an injury or another emergency occurs during the trip. Physically write down emergency contact information that everyone can access and store them digitally in your phone for quick reference. Keep water and snacks in your vehicle.
While it is impossible to control the actions of other motorists, often you can anticipate potentially reckless movements before they cause an accident. Check your blind spots before changing lanes and avoid engaging with aggressive drivers. Let them pass so you can move forward safely.
Take the Time to Be Safe
Reaching your destination is the priority, so enjoy the trip and be flexible. Allow for unexpected delays or changes to the itinerary without becoming frustrated or stressed so everyone can arrive safely.
Contact Glen Larson Law Injury Attorneys for Help Today
Glen Larson Law Injury Attorneys hope you get to your destination safely, and never need us to help you enforce your legal rights and options to hold a negligent driver accountable for a crash you were injured in or lost a loved one in. However, if you do need us, we stand ready to help you. Call our skilled personal injury attorneys in Austin at (512) 883-0277 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. We pursue dedicated, driven results for our clients, and there is never a charge to talk to an attorney.