Americans love their road trips and head out in vast numbers to visit relatives, camp, fish, hunt, visit resorts and theme parks, or enjoy our beautiful country. Before you leave town on your road trip, take the time to review these driver safety tips – they could save a life.
A Vehicle Check-Up
Before any long trip, ensure your vehicle is in top running condition. Have a professional mechanic check the brakes, lights, windshield wipers, and the condition of your tires, and other systems so you are less likely to have a breakdown or be involved in a dangerous accident.
Prepare for the Weather
Every region of the USA has unique weather conditions, from unbearable heat in the South, to rain, snow, and ice in the North and East. Wherever you plan to travel, take the weather conditions into account. Encountering a blizzard while traveling to visit family for a holiday can be a frightening experience, particularly if you are unfamiliar with winter driving conditions.
A significant percentage of auto accidents occur in inclement weather. Ensure you are equipped for any weather you may experience by bringing flares, extra blankets, water, and food. If you encounter severe weather conditions, pull over, or stop for the night rather than trying to reach your destination. If you are in an accident with another vehicle or your car, SUV, or van breaks down, it could be many hours before help arrives.
Never leave on a road trip without emergency supplies in your trunk or in your vehicle. These would include a portable cell phone charging device, flashlight, blankets, flares, water, imperishable food such as protein bars, and a first aid kit. A small shovel can prove to be a lifesaver if you are stranded in a snowbank. Always ensure that if your vehicle is running, that the tailpipe is free from snow to avoid the risk of exhaust fumes entering your vehicle while you try to stay warm.
Get Enough Sleep.
Driving long distances takes energy and focus. Never start a road trip without ensuring you have had enough sleep. If you get tired during your travels, don’t push it – pull over and rest. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, as reported by the NHTSA.
Follow the Rules of the Road
You may want to get to your destination as fast as possible, but ensure you are aware of the speed limits and follow the rules of the road. The speed limits posted are not safe in harsh weather, so slow down. Always use your signals to change lanes and be particularly careful if you are on a highway with many commercial trucks. Be a road safety fanatic.
Children and Vehicle Safety
If you have young children, it is natural that they are easily bored on long road trips. Ensure that they are safe and snug in an approved car seat, and if they need a break, stop – but keep them secured in a car seat while the vehicle is moving, in every case.
Ensure Your Insurance is Up to Date
Your personal insurance policies can be a lifesaver when something goes wrong. If you are planning a road trip, we invite you to meet with one of our local agents to review your coverage and make sure you have all the insurance you will need if an emergency occurs while on the road or away from home.