Warmer weather is just around the corner, and that means one thing: road trips! But before you hit the open road, there are a few things you need to do to make sure your trip is as safe as possible. Here are nine tips to help you stay safe while traveling by car. The first thing that you should do is make sure your car is ready for a road trip.Traveling on the highways or freeways can be a great way to get some experience on the road and see a big part of the country or area you’re touring.
However, being on the road also comes with some safety hazards that you want to be aware of. A safe, fun, and stress-free road trip requires adequate preparation. With proper planning, a road trip can be the best experience ever, but it can turn out to be a nightmare if you fail to plan. Here are three must-do things for a safe and fun road trip.
Table of Contents
- Make Sure Your Car Is OK For The Trip
- Check your car
- Plan before you leave
- Plot a loose route
- Get Plenty Of Rest Before You Hit The Road
- Use an App to Find Rest Stops
- Pack A First Aid Kit And Other Essentials
- Have the necessary contacts at hand
- Stay alert
- Stay Away From Truck and Semi Trucks
- Know Their Blind Spots
- Keep A Consistent Speed
- Be Careful In Windy Conditions
- Avoid Driving At Night
- Drive With A Co-Pilot
- Avoid Distractions While Driving
- Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Use an Alcohol Interlock Device
- Communicate With Other Drivers
- Manage the gas budget
- Use an App to Track Speed Limit
Make Sure Your Car Is OK For The Trip
The last thing you want is for your car to break down in the middle of nowhere, so it’s important to check that everything is running smoothly before heading out. This includes checking all fluid levels (e.g., oil, transmission fluid, coolant), belts, hoses, and tires (including the spare). Just to be safe, take him to a general inspection to ensure he passes with flying colors and ask your mechanic to check over your car’s key systems (i.e., brakes, steering, suspension).
Check your car
A road trip means you are traveling on a personal vehicle. It also implies that the driver should be a vehicle and driving expert. Otherwise, things might turn out bitter. We cannot say anything about your driving skills, but we suggest you check a few things.
- The fuel. Your car tanks need to be full, and you should carry an extra petrol bottle with you.
- The tire pressure, a flat tire is a nightmare.
- The spare parts.
- Filters and hoses.
- Windshield wiper and lights.
- Car insurance. It is imperative.
However, if you do not want to go in your car, you can consider the car-sharing service. Here are a few reasons why one needs the car-sharing service for road trips.
Plan before you leave
You should have a clear road map. Knew where you would stay and when—the hotel charges, and the visiting spots too. Prefer going from a more exciting route, where you can enjoy yourself more. Book hotels in advance and keep an eye on the weather too.
Plot a loose route
Although a last-minute excursion can be fun, a successful road trip requires a lot of organization and planning. Know where you’re going. Have a sense of the main places you’re going to visit and a rough idea of the time you’ll be there. Check mileages – in the US, places can seem very close on the map, but in reality, they are thousands of miles apart. You can do it online. MapQuest and Google Maps are perfect tools. Remember also to check if there’s any road construction along the route you want to use.
Consider the amount of time you can spend driving in a day. Of course, you don’t want to set yourself for failure and exhaustion by driving for over 10 hours a day. That road trip wouldn’t be fun.
Get Plenty Of Rest Before You Hit The Road
One of the best ways to stay safe while on the road is to make sure you’re well-rested before setting out. When you sleep at least 8 hours a night, your body releases endorphins, which help improve your mood and alertness. You should also make sure you’re well-hydrated before hitting the road to avoid drowsiness.
Keep in mind that you might feel drowsy after a long day of driving even if you’re well-rested and that there’s only so much caffeinated beverages can do to help. Driving while tired is extremely dangerous because it slows your reaction time and reduces your physical coordination, which only increases the probability that you’ll get involved in an accident.
It’s imperative that you realize the importance of getting adequate sleep before hitting the road again. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived drivers are almost as risky as drunk drivers when the accident statistics are compared. It can be easy to put sleep on the back burner when you’re busy having fun on a long road trip, especially when you’re anxious to arrive at your destination. Thus, it’s best to be realistic and generous when allotting the amount of time it will take to complete the Three travel tips on how to stay safe during your road trip and ensure that you are driving legally.
Use an App to Find Rest Stops
There are also plenty of apps that will help you find the nearest rest stops, which can be useful when you’re tired of driving for a while but don’t want to spend the money on a hotel. Pulling over and getting a nap for a couple of hours can do a lot to rejuvenate your awareness. Using an app to find all rest areas nearby will ensure that you don’t accidentally miss one and then find yourself detouring or continuing on while tired and disoriented.
Pack A First Aid Kit And Other Essentials
If you break down in the middle of nowhere or are involved in an accident, it’s important that you have a first aid kit and other items that can help you stay safe until assistance arrives. You should pack extra clothes, especially socks and underwear, in case the accident renders your clothing unusable.
To save space in your car, choose a backpack when packing this kit. Make sure it has compartments to keep each item separated when needed and use plastic bags to organize your items.
Have the necessary contacts at hand
This is one of the most important tips we can give you. Keep the phone numbers of roadside assistance, hospitals, and police stations in your cell phone address book so they’ll be easy to find when needed. Keep a lawyer’s number as well since some accidents will require you to have one.
There is a lot of them online offering their services like auto accident lawyer Alan Belsky who can help you when you end up being in a car accident. It’s also best to keep the phone numbers of family members and emergency contacts.
Your safety needs to be your responsibility before anyone else. Therefore, you should stay alert all the time while on a road trip. Scan the roads before traveling. Set an emergency number in your mobile phone, turn on the location on your phone, and keep updating some relatives back at home.
Stay Away From Truck and Semi Trucks
One of the biggest safety hazards, both literally and figuratively, comes in the form of semi-trucks. To help you avoid getting into an accident with a semi-truck, here are three tips for safely driving around semi-trucks while you’re road tripping. Three tips on how to safely drive around semi-trucks whenever you go on a road trip.
Know Their Blind Spots
While all vehicles have blind spots, semi-trucks have more blind spots than most. Rather than just having two small blind sports like most cars, semi-trucks have quite a few larger blind spots. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the biggest blind spots for semi-trucks are 20 feet in front of them, 30 feet behind them, about two lanes to their right, and about one lane to their back left. Knowing this, it’s crucial that you stay out of these areas if you want to be able to be seen by the semi truck driver. If you must go through this area, make sure you signal and that you move out of those areas quickly.
Keep A Consistent Speed
The bigger the vehicle is, the harder it is for it to get up to speed or to slow down. This concept is especially true for semi-trucks, who often have a lot of cargo with them to help make them even heavier loads. Because of this, Patrick Allan, a contributor to LifeHacker.com, recommends that you as a driver try to keep your speed as consistent as possible when traveling in front of semi-trucks. If you slam on your brakes when you’re right in front of a semi-truck, it may not be able to stop in time to not hit you, depending on how much room is between you two. So to keep yourself from getting rear-ended by a semi-truck, try to keep your speed consistent.
Be Careful In Windy Conditions
If it’s a windy day when you’re driving, you’re going to want to be extra careful when moving around semi-trucks. According to Drive-Safely.net, a semi truck’s load can become like a sail when it’s windy. This can cause it to drift in and out of lanes more than it normally would. With this in mind, be sure you give semi-trucks the space they need to safely maneuver themselves when there are windy conditions.
Avoid Driving At Night
If you can, avoid driving during the night because it’s a lot more dangerous than daytime driving. Statistics show that roughly half of all accidents happen during this time and that those involved in these types of crashes are three times as likely to end up injured or dead because their visibility is greatly reduced at night.
If you’re driving at night, make sure your car is equipped with headlights and taillights that are in working order. Keep in mind that foggy days cause reduced visibility as well, so either avoid these conditions when possible or slow down to compensate for them.
Drive With A Co-Pilot
Driving alone can be dangerous enough, but if you’re driving with a co-pilot that’s at least as awake and alert as you are, it can make your trip safer. When driving with a passenger, make sure they don’t distract you by talking excessively or reaching out to adjust the radio or air conditioner controls.
You should also avoid driving with your pet at the wheel because they might jump on you or bark in response to car horns or other loud outside noises. If you really want to bring your dog with you, it’s best to let him ride in the passenger seat so that he can get more accustomed to the environment.
Avoid Distractions While Driving
Don’t drive if you’re distracted by thoughts of an argument with your spouse, phone calls and texts you need to return, or other things that pose a risk to your driving ability. Remember that even “safer” distractions like eating, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, reading books/maps/directional guides are all dangerous since they take your focus away from the road.
If you know that you’re especially prone to distractions, as soon as your trip begins, set a mental “distraction budget” and tell yourself that you can’t spend more than X minutes doing anything but driving until you reach your destination. Make it a point not to exceed this time limit.
Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you’ve been smoking marijuana, taking prescription pills, drinking beer, etc., don’t get behind the wheel of your car. Your reaction time and physical coordination are greatly reduced when under the influence of any substance that alters your state of mind. Even if a drug or drink has no effect on a certain person’s ability to drive, it’s still best to be safe, so avoid taking medicine or smoking anything before hopping in the driver’s seat.
Use an Alcohol Interlock Device
While this is a method typically used by companies that employ drivers, some drivers also install it by choice to keep themselves from accidentally driving while they’re intoxicated beyond the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. A car ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer that tests your BAC levels and prevents the car from starting if the levels are beyond the legal limit.
If you know that you have a tendency to have a drink or two after a long day of driving, you don’t want to put yourself at risk of being pulled over for a DUI, as that could leave a negative dent in your Three travel tips on how to stay safe during your road trip and ensure that you are driving legally. Take a look at list of road trip safety plans.
Communicate With Other Drivers
You don’t have to be Mr./Miss Popularity on your road trip, but try not to alienate other drivers with rude gestures like flipping them off or giving them the finger. If you need to pass them, flash your lights or honk the horn so they know you’re coming.
As much as possible, try not to speed or tailgate other drivers either because these two actions are usually signs of disapproval and could trigger anger in whoever’s driving the car behind you. Remember that everyone on the road is just trying to get to their destination safely, so try to respect other people’s opinions even if you don’t agree with them.
Manage the gas budget
A road trip means you will spend a lot of bucks on fuel. But not when you play smart. Following a few simple tricks can help you cut the splurges. You should do the following things if you want to spend minimum money on Gas.
- Keep on slowing down the acceleration after regular intervals.
- Keep the windows closed when driving at a higher speed. It will reduce the friction, and you will move faster.
- Choose the smooth roads.
- Buy Gas at the coolest hour of the day because it will be denser at that time.
- Keep a moderate speed.
Use an App to Track Speed Limit
While road signs are sufficient to tell you the speed limit, they aren’t posted everywhere, and when you’re driving for hours on end it can be easy to overlook speed limit signs. To be sure that you’re traveling within the speed limit, you can use an app like Google’s Waze to retrieve the speed limit for the stretch of road you’re currently driving on.
The tips provided in this article can help you stay safe while traveling by car on a road trip. Remember to have your headlights and taillights in working order, avoid distractions while driving, communicate with other drivers when possible, fill up on gas when the tank reaches half full rather than waiting until it’s empty or the indicator light comes on, don’t drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle (even if it doesn’t seem like it affects you), and try not to alienate others with rude gestures. These are all important safety measures that will make sure everyone gets where they need to go safely!