WIth the holidays coming up, you might be planning a long drive to visit friends and family. Are you and your car up to the task? We’ve put together some travel safety tips to help you plan your road trip and stay safe during your drive.
Before You Hit the Road…
Schedule a tune-up
Prevent any roadside emergencies by getting your car checked out by a mechanic before you start a long road trip. Get an oil change and check your fluids, tire pressure, headlights, and turn signals to make sure everything is working as it should.
Pack an emergency kit
Don’t be left stranded! Pack a roadside emergency kit, including road flares, jumper cables, tools to change a tire, blankets, bottled water, a flashlight, non-perishable snacks, and a first aid kit.
If you’re traveling during the winter, it’s a good idea to pack additional items to help you get your car out of snow and ice. Include a small shovel, ice scraper, de-icing spray, and kitty litter in your emergency kit, as well as extra blankets in case you need to wait for a tow truck.
You never know what will happen during a long road trip. Make sure your cell phone is charged, and carry an extra charger or battery pack in your car. It’s also a good idea to keep a local road map handy, just in case you get lost in an area without cell service, as well as a gas can. If you lose your car keys easily, keep a spare set in your luggage.
Get plenty of sleep
Drowsy drivers are responsible for more than 100,000 accidents every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Don’t put yourself or your family at risk by skimping on sleep the night before a road trip. Make sure you’re well rested and alert before you get behind the driver’s seat.
During the Drive…
Pay attention to your posture
Not only will sitting up straight help to keep you alert on the road, you’ll also save yourself from pesky back and neck pain which can hang around long after your road trip is over. Good posture is also great for your circulation!
Break up the trip
Try not to drive for more than two hours at a time. Schedule breaks to refuel with gas for the car and snacks for yourself. Consider planning ahead and picking out a few landmarks or other places to visit along the way!
Don’t be distracted!
Avoid using your cell phone, even if you’re using bluetooth or another hands-free device. Find a good radio station and keep the volume low so you can stay aware of the road. If you decide to grab a snack, take time to finish eating before you get back on the road.
Look away from bright lights
Have you ever been “blinded” by someone’s extra-bright headlights while driving after dark? Rather than leaving yourself unable to see, it’s better to look away for a few seconds to maintain your eyesight. You can keep watch on the road using your peripheral vision until the headlights have passed.
Stop if you need to.
The longer we’ve been driving, the more we just want to get there as quickly as possible, but that’s no reason to risk your safety. If you feel tired, or want to make a phone call, pull over or find a place to stop. If you only follow one of our travel safety tips, make sure it’s this one! Being a little late is the better choice.