March 19, 2018

Staying Safe On That Big Road Trip

The family road trip is one of the best ways to go out and explore for less, saving on the costs of hotels, the flights, and much more. It also gives you the opportunity to see much more than the average vacation and to enjoy a sense of adventure and discovery on the way. However, when driving such long distances, safety should always be a concern. Here, we’re going to look at some of the big risks and how you make sure you deal with them responsibly.




Get yourself a tune-up
Before you head out, make sure you take the time to have the car closely checked over. Check the oil levels, the brake pads, the tires, and get a tune-up from your garage. If you’re close to a routine replacement such as an oil change, it might be sensible to go ahead and get it in advance now. It might even be worth learning some simple DIY maintenance skills that you can take on the road with you, too. Road trips are extremely long-drives which means that they can test the limits of your car much more than your everyday commute. Make sure the vehicle is as ready-to-go as possible before you set off.

Rest up before the big day
Drowsy driving can be a serious risk. As shown at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/aaa-study-drowsy-driving-dangers-comparable-to-drunk-driving/, driving while you’re tired has been shown to be almost as dangerous as driving under the influence. Your reactions are going to be much slower, you will have trouble keeping your focus on the road and your perception of your surroundings is going to be compromised. All of that can easily lead to an accident and the premature end of the road trip. Finding the balance between sleeping and driving on the road is crucial. Start your best habits early by ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep before setting off. If you wake up tired, then you should even consider postponing the departure a little while so that you can take another nap.

Don’t forget your emergency kit
It should be in every car, but most drivers don’t spare a thought towards putting together an emergency kit like https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/emergency-kit.php. But they are especially crucial during those long multi-day driving voyages. A tune-up can prevent a lot of breakdowns, but there is always the risk that it might happen. The emergency kit should contain a first aid kit, sunscreen and bug spray, as well as warm blankets to keep everyone safe if there is an accident or breakdown. A spare tire, a pair of jumper cables and some rudimentary tools might be able to help you get back on the road, too. It’s a good idea to bring safety gear, too. One of the biggest dangers of breaking down is not being seen by other cars on the road. Bringing reflective triangles to place around the car and reflective vests to wear can help other cars better see and avoid you, or perhaps even stop to offer a hand.



Batten down the hatches
There are risks from within the car you should be concerned with, too. Before you set off, give the interior of the car a deep clean. Look on the floor for any bottles, toys, or other small objects that could roll around and get stuck under the pedals. When you’re packing the car up, batten down the bags and other larger items so that they don’t slide around and become a potential risk by unlodging. It’s not the most pleasant of thoughts, but if you do happen to get into an accident, everything in the car is going to experience a sudden push of force. Large bags that aren’t kept in the boot or otherwise locked down can go flying which can be extremely dangerous.

Make sure everyone is buckled up

Naturally, you should ensure that everyone is locked down just as securely as those bags. They can do a lot more harm if they’re the ones that are sent flying. In most states, it’s a law, but everywhere, it’s common sense to make it a rule that everyone stays buckled up. If you’re bringing small children, take a closer look at their child seats and make sure they’re secured fast with the pinch test.

Share the road

On a road trip, you’re a lot more likely to share the interstate roads with vehicles you might not see as commonly in your hometown or city. Trucks are much more common, and they bring with them a level of risk you might not be aware of. As https://www.craigswapp.com/truck-accident-lawyer/ states, the size and weight of trucks make them a particular threat, as does their comparative lack of visibility. They have bigger blind spots than a car, so be sure to give them plenty of room. Similarly, be prepared to do the same for motorcyclists. Just as a car can easily slip into a truck’s blind spot, a motorcyclist can easily slip into yours. If you spot one, try to stay aware of where they are and don’t make any sudden turns or maneuvers without indicating.


Take plenty of breaks
If you have someone else with you on the road trip that can drive, it’s sensible to switch up the drivers at every stop you take. Otherwise, you should be prepared to take more breaks. Not only do you need to find places to sleep as soon as you start feeling drowsy, you have to ensure you hydrate and eat off the road. Otherwise, energy levels can flag, and you can start losing focus. Apps like https://roadtrippers.com/ make it easy to plan out more stops in advance. But if you ever start feeling drowsy or like your attention is slipping, take the next available stop.

The potential risk of a road trip shouldn’t stop you from planning one. So long as you’re as responsible and prepared as possible, the chances are you will have no issue at all. Just never get complacent when spending that much time on the road.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.