As the weather warms up, you know that road trip season is just around the corner. You can’t wait to take trips during the spring and summer. Or perhaps you enjoy road tripping during the cooler months. After all, visiting warmer climates in the middle of winter can provide you with great reprieve.
Whatever the case, you hope to stay safe and avoid sustaining injuries during your journey. In the blog below, we’ve listed several tips to help you avoid accidents and injuries so you can enjoy your road trip to the fullest.
1. Service Your Vehicle
Before you get on the road, you’ll want to service your vehicle. Take it to a trusted mechanic, and have him or her check the following:
- Brakes and brake fluid
- Cooling and heating system (as well as the fluids in these systems)
- Fluid levels (including oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and wiper fluid) Headlights and taillights (replace any bulbs if necessary)
- Tires and tire pressure (check the spare tire as well)
If possible, service your vehicle at least a week before your trip just in case it requires repairs or more extensive services.
2. Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
Whether you use traditional road maps or GPS navigation, plan which route you’ll take ahead of time. This step lets you know which roads you’ll take along your trip. As you plan ahead, you can research the traffic levels of these roads so you can drive safer.
If you use GPS, your navigation system may even be able to tell you which roads are under construction. When you avoid driving through construction sites, you greatly reduce your risk of accidents and injury.
3. Get to Bed Early the Night Before Your Trip
You don’t want to struggle to stay awake as you drive. To ensure your safety, as well as the safety of your passengers and other drivers on the road, make sure to get enough sleep the night before your trip. If you can, go to bed early so you can wake up refreshed and ready to sit behind the wheel for a few hours.
4. Secure Your Luggage
The last thing you want is for your luggage to fly off of or out of your car and cause you or another driver to get into an accident. Before you leave on your trip, secure your luggage. If you store your luggage in a rack on top of your car, make sure to use ropes and straps to secure the suitcases and bags in place.
If you plan to store your luggage in your trunk or backseat, make sure the locking mechanisms work properly and that the doors or trunk won’t pop open while you drive.
5. Switch Between Drivers
Staring at the open road for hours on end can make you drowsy. To avoid falling asleep behind the wheel, switch between drivers every few hours if possible. If you’re driving alone, stop at a rest stop or gas station every couple of hours to stretch your legs and take a break.
6. Avoid Driving at Night
Driving conditions are more hazardous at night. Nocturnal animals could wander onto the road. A speeding driver may hit an obstacle and cause an accident. If you can, avoid driving at night to reduce your chances of getting into a crash.
Before your trip, look into hotels that rest along your route so you don’t have to make too big of a detour. Additionally, booking a hotel in advance can make stopping at night much easier.
7. Drive the Speed Limit
Speed limits exist to keep you and other drivers safe on the road. Though you may feel excited to get to your final destination, you shouldn’t speed along the interstate and side roads. Always go the speed limit as you drive.
You should also avoid driving solely in the fast lane. This lane should only be used so you can safely pass larger vehicles, such as semis and trailers.
Driving the speed limit also allows you to stay more aware of your surroundings, further reducing your risk of an accident.
8. Pack a Roadside Emergency Kit
In the event of an accident, you’ll want to have an emergency kit in your vehicle. The items in this kit will help you until the authorities and paramedics arrive on the scene. Include the following items in your emergency kit:
- Beef jerky
- Disposable camera
- First aid kit
- Fruit strips or dried fruit
- Granola bars
- Jumper cables
- Roadside flares Water
You should also store phone numbers for highway patrol, a trusted towing company, and your insurance provider in your emergency kit.
As you prepare for your road trip, keep these tips in mind. Use them as you drive so you can stay safe and avoid causing an accident on your journey. However, should another person’s reckless driving cause you to get into an accident or sustain an injury, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
These professionals can help you file a personal injury claim and solidify your case so you can receive just compensation for your suffering. For more information about how a personal injury attorney can help you, read our other blog posts.