The holidays are quickly approaching, and families everywhere are planning their upcoming travels to visit loved ones who live far away. You may know from experience that road trips are a great way to take a break from social media, forget about work, see new places, and make memories with your family.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that safety should never be put on the back burner, especially when you are planning a long-distance road trip. The steps you take to maintain your vehicle and plan ahead will make all the difference when it comes to protecting your family and keeping everyone else on the road safe. Here are four road trip precautions you should take:
Get Routine Maintenance Done
Remember that safety begins before you even get on the road or start up your vehicle. If you know that you have a road trip coming up, make sure that you take your car in for an inspection and get routine maintenance done. You can check with your car owner’s manual for specific information about what work your car needs done and when.
It will include specific information about the battery, tires, brakes, fluids, windshield wipers, and your engine air filter. On top of regular maintenance, call your auto mechanic ahead of time before a long road trip to schedule an appointment for a regular checkup. The mechanic will ensure that everything related to your vehicle is functioning properly and safely.
Plan Your Route and Take Shifts Driving
If you aren’t familiar with the route you will be taking, look at it on a map ahead of time so you have a general idea of what direction you need to go in. Additionally, make sure to put the directions into your GPS prior to getting on the road so you aren’t having to fumble around with it while driving. While planning your route, include any rest breaks or hotel stops you will take.
Motorists who are traveling long distances are at risk of drowsy driving, which is a common cause of car accidents and occurs most frequently from midnight to 6 a.m. If you find yourself yawning, blinking frequently, drifting in and out of your lane, or nodding off behind the wheel, don’t continue driving. You should either have another licensed driver take a shift, pull over for a quick power nap, or get a hotel for the night.
Check For Road Hazards or Bad Weather
You should get in the habit of checking what road conditions will be like before you head out. For instance, if there is any road construction or car accidents up ahead, you can plan an alternative route to avoid these areas. Doing so not only will help you avoid congestion and bumper-to-bumper traffic, but also potential road debris that may pose a safety hazard.
Statistics from the Department of Transportation (DOT) reveal that weather plays a role in about 21% of all annual car crashes, with most of these incidents occurring during winter season conditions, such as rain, fog, snow, or icy roads. Check what the weather conditions will be like where you are driving so that you know to adjust your driving behaviors accordingly. This may involve reducing your speed, increasing your following distance, and using headlights.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
You never know when an unexpected situation may occur that causes your vehicle to break down. What if you are in a car accident or your tire pops in an area without phone service? Having an emergency kit inside of your vehicle can prepare you should you be stuck without any help for even a few hours.
The best, most comprehensive emergency kits will have a variety of items including a spare tire, jumper cables, a tool kit, a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, duct tape, warm clothing, blankets, water bottles, and non-perishable food items. It’s also a good idea to keep emergency contact information and your towing company number in your vehicle.
We’re Here If You Need Us
Unfortunately, not all road trips are accident-free. If you or your loved ones are injured while traveling due to another negligent, irresponsible, reckless driver, please know that Vollor Law Firm, P.A. is here to advocate on your behalf while driving you with the comprehensive and reliable legal support you need during these difficult times.
Our Northern Mississippi personal injury attorneys have been protecting the rights of those in our local communities for over 20 years and have obtained millions of dollars for our injured clients. Available 24/7, our team will review your case for free, determine what legal options exist, and fight hard to help you pursue the justice and maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact our firm at (662) 269-6188 to get started with your case today!