Road tripping is probably the most common way to travel. It’s easy for individuals to hop in the car with friends and family and see the world. Road trips are certainly fun, especially with the right snacks and tunes, but they’re not without risk.
Unfortunately, car accidents are the number one reason for non-health-related fatalities and injuries, and no one is exempt. You could be injured in a car accident at the hand of another driver, despite your precautions.
That being said, you can control your own actions and prevent accident or injury while behind the wheel on your long trip. Here are a few tips to make it safer for everyone.
1. Don’t Drive Sleepy
The number one cause of fatal accidents in the United States is drunk driving, but some research indicates that drowsy driving can be just as bad. When you’ve been awake for 18 hours or more, your cognitive functioning is impaired the same as having a blood alcohol level of .05.
If you’re tired, ask a better-rested driver in the car to take over. If everyone is tired, consider pulling over for the night and getting some rest before continuing.
2. Have a Designated Phone User
Distracted driving, particularly phone use, is one of the most common causes of car accidents. It not only takes your eyes off the road, but it makes you lose focus on the task at hand.
To avoid causing an accident, stay off your phone. If you’re using your phone for GPS or music, have another person in the car take over phone responsibilities.
3. Pack Easy-to-Eat Snacks
Eating is another common form of distracted driving, but on a road trip, that’s sometimes unavoidable. Rather than trying to eat a Subway sandwich, pack snacks that are easier to eat while driving like carrot sticks, granola bars, and beef jerky.
4. Take the Car for a Checkup First
Mechanical malfunctions are not only inconvenient, but they can put you at danger. A blown tire on the freeway, for example, can cause your car to flip. Being stuck on the side of the road could also pose hazards from malicious passersby.
Take your vehicle to a certified mechanic before heading out. Specifically ask if they believe your vehicle is road trip ready and if there are any repairs that need done ahead of time. A $50 vehicle inspection is worth avoiding a potential breakdown on the side of the road.
5. Avoid Bad Weather Travel
Check the weather before leaving home. If there’s going to be heavy rain, winds, or snow, reevaluate your plan. You may need to postpone or cancel your trip until the weather is better.
If the weather is mild, and you decide to continue on your trip, brush up on bad weather driving skills. There are tricks to driving on ice and in heavy rain, and if you’re prepared for this weather, you’re less likely to end up in a ditch.
6. Carry an Emergency Kit
While you can take steps to prevent a catastrophe, you can’t prevent everything. Having a first aid kit in your car will prepare you for the unexpected. If you do find yourself in a car accident, you may have the necessary supplies to treat wounds while you wait for the paramedics.
Additionally, if you break down and there are no cars around, you’ll have the necessary supplies to survive until help arrives.
7. Know How to Change a Tire
A blown tire is one of the most common causes of break downs on road trips, and if you know how to repair a tire, it doesn’t have to ruin your trip. You can be on your way quickly towards a tire repair shop. They’ll fix you up in about 15 minutes, so there’s little delay.
It’s much better than waiting around for help. It’s also much safer, as there’s a risk of unsavory characters stopping while you’re stranded there.
Taking the necessary steps to avoid a catastrophe on the road will make your road trip so much better. Not only will you be safer, but you’ll also have peace of mind for the duration of your vacation.