It’s no secret that America’s roads can be dangerous places. And though the vehicles that we drive today are considered to be much “safer” and “smarter” than ever before, this doesn’t account for the human factor which is often to blame for automobile accidents.
Regardless if you’re trying to figure out where you should travel in the next 6 months, or in the next week, or even if it’s going down the road to see a friend, safety is going to be a primary concern anytime you set out on the open road.
Today, drivers are more distracted than ever, not only with smartphones, but with all of the features within today’s vehicles. And this makes staying vigilant while out on the road a top priority if you hope to enjoy your road trip and make it back home safely. If you’re about to embark on a road journey of any length, the following will provide a few safety tips that you should consider.
One of the best defences you can implement when driving anywhere is to plan ahead. And this is especially important because you never know when you’ll be stuck in your car for an extended amount of time due to traffic or construction, or due to inclement weather.
A few ways you can plan ahead and offer yourself better peace of mind are as follows:
- Choose alternate routes in advance
- Pack safety gear (flashlight, tire patch kit, plenty of water, snacks)
- Pack appropriate weather gear for the area you’ll be travelling in
- Keep a map or road atlas as a backup for navigation
- Make lodging reservations in advance
While planning ahead is always a best practice, one thing that you can’t plan for is a car accident or a breakdown. However, being aware of road conditions, keeping your car maintenanced, and having a plan in place in the event of a car accident or a breakdown is always recommended. However, in the event of an accident, you should also ensure that you have an attorney you can call and that your car is properly covered with insurance.
Be Aware Of Distractions
As mentioned, today’s drivers are more distracted than ever due to smartphones and a host of other bells and whistles that are features of our vehicles today. And these factors have actually caused fatal collisions to occur.
Studies show that over 400,000 people were injured in 2019 alone due to distracted driving. And this number has been expected to climb higher even with laws in place that prohibit cell phone use within a motor vehicle. Additionally, even while driving in “hands-free” mode, you’re still slightly distracted.
One of the best ways to keep safe on the road today is to be consciously aware of distracted drivers. And the following offers a few ways to spot a distracted driver:
- Frequent swerving across lanes
- Randomly swerving off the road
- Riding the shoulder
- Hugging the median
- Frequent braking
- Riding too close to other vehicles
- Visibly noticing the driver’s head positioned downward
Once you’re able to spot the signs of a distracted driver, you can keep yourself safe by maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle. And as a rule of thumb, keeping three or more car lengths in front of you and another motorist is recommended.
Another main cause of road collisions today is due to inclement weather. And while we have the means to check a local weather forecast before heading out to a destination, weather can change suddenly. And when this happens, you can find yourself in a dangerous situation if on the open road.
The main thing to remember is that certain areas have periods of bad weather such as tornado season and heavy rain or high wind seasons such as in the deep south and in the Great Plains. During this time, it’s best to avoid travel if at all possible. Or at least have a good understanding of the weather forecast before heading out.
Snow and ice also pose a major threat on any roadway. As such, knowing how to drive in these conditions is critical for staying safe.
No matter where you’re travelling, adhering to safety practices is going to be your best defence against other motorists and for keeping safe out on the road. And any precautions you take will be a proactive measure for ensuring that you make it to your destination and back safely.