How To Stay Safe On A Road Trip
Many of us can hardly resist the open road when spring turns to summer and the travel bug bites. A good road trip is sure to be a memorable time – especially when it’s a hassle-free experience. There are plenty of best practices and road trip safety tips any motorist should know that will go a long way to making your trip a good one.
Drivers setting out on a road trip of any length should add the number of a reputable towing service to their list of packing priorities. It’s a team you might never need to call, but therein lies the secret weapon of all successful road trips: being prepared. This guide will spotlight the top 10 road trip safety tips every driver should do to make their road trip a safe, comfortable, and confident experience.
Road Trip Preparation
Fatigue. Inclement weather. Distractions. Vehicle trouble. These and more can contribute to breakdowns, accidents or even deaths. Wise drivers watch their calendar as well as the road and – if they have the luxury – schedule road trips at the safest times. Three bonus starter tips:
1. Timing Is Everything
Weather forecasts can be a valuable tool in road trip safety, but they’re often unreliable. More reliable by far are the seasons and how we celebrate them. Be extra careful if you have to road trip in winter or during a holiday period at any time of year. Winter driving takes special skills, and navigating holiday traffic can be more challenging than any other kind.
2. Think Local Before You Leave
Getting the show on the road and keeping it there also relies on knowing local laws, traffic, and geography. Maryland drivers unaware of their particular responsibilities risk their road trip being cut short.
3. Budget Smartly
Road trips can lead to any number of issues that may require a quick financial solution. Little expenses mount up along the route, and big ones can be sudden. Make sure you know your financial limitations before you commit to a long journey.
Taking this advice will minimize stress, potential delays, and the risks of accidents so you can concentrate on enjoying the journey and making some memories – right after you’ve ticked every box in the top ten, that is.
10 Road Trip Safety Steps
A combination of caution and some useful driver’s wisdom helps keep you and your vehicle safe. It can also save money when roadside rescue and repair aren’t necessary. No road trip is guaranteed risk-free, but the odds of trouble drop dramatically when you follow these tips:
1. Plan Ahead With Vehicle Maintenance
Giving your vehicle a comprehensive checkup is a wise move before leaving. You can either take it to a mechanic or check these things yourself:
- Headlights and brake lights
- Oil condition
- Coolant fluid levels
- Spare tire health
- Wiper and blade fluid
- Signal lights
- Belts, caps, and hoses
- Air filters
Taking any of these for granted could bring your road trip to a halt. A professional mechanic is the best person to confirm all these items are in road trip-worthy condition.
2. Prepare Yourself
Now it’s time to get the driver braced for protracted periods behind the wheel. Make sure you pack plenty of water and healthy road snacks, but also keep these other essentials in mind:
- Jumper cables
- Chains for traction, depending on the weather
- Waterproof matches
- A first aid kit
- A tool kit with cutting devices
- Road maps (they don’t lose signal)
- Blanket and pillow
These items will help avoid or minimize any minor physical or navigational emergencies. The next most important step is knowing when to put that blanket and pillow to safe and effective use.
3. Schedule Sleep
It is vital to preempt your body’s inevitable fatigue signals by pre-arranging accommodations along your route (or pulling into a designated rest stop for a nap). There are over 16,000 crashes every day on American roads, with drowsy drivers increasing the risk to themselves and others.
4. Limit Electronic Device Use
Distracted driving takes many forms. Some of the most common and deadly are cellphones, tablets, or playlists when you should be watching the road. Treat electronic devices solely as a stationary activity, and pull over if there’s an urgent call you need to take or make.
5. Know Your Gas Mileage
Take a minute to calculate gas costs ahead of time, and then employ a few other tricks to minimize your expenses. These include accelerating slowly and driving at a steady pace, which can save on gas mileage. Keep in mind also that driving at high speeds with windows open will decrease your gas mileage.
6. Respect the Weather
Road conditions can change in an instant and create dangers. It only takes less than half an inch of water to cause a car to hydroplane, making it essential to be aware of rainy road safety. Wherever road conditions are slick or visibility is low, drive slowly and use low beams and fog lights.
7. Prepare Emotionally
Countless bad decisions are made on the road because drivers’ tempers or nerves get frayed, and this goes double for long trips. Knowing how to avoid road rage is an invaluable driving skill. Staying calm does more than foster a happy atmosphere on a road trip; it can preserve the health and well-being of everyone on board.
8. Never Remove Your Seatbelt While on the Road
Seatbelts can seem like something you’re only supposed to wear for short trips. This is not the right attitude, because millions are injured and thousands killed every year because their seatbelt was unbuckled. Wear yours and make your passengers do the same.
9. Protect Minors
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides parents and guardians with safety guides for children traveling in vehicles. These help prevent your smallest passengers from becoming one of the thousands of children killed every year in preventable accidents.
10. Install a Car Alarm
Playing it smart on a road trip means leaving your car more than a few times to use rest stops, grab some food, or check in for an overnight stay. Installing a quality car alarm alerts you to any troublemakers who may be looking to ruin your vacation.
Good road trips are a blend of relaxation and responsibility – and one responsible move is to find a towing team you can count on. Adding their number to speed dial provides an extra layer of security and comfort so you enjoy greater peace of mind.
Call the Experts With Any Questions
Road trips can feel like drudgery if things start going wrong. The Geyers Towing and Transport team operates 24/7 to provide stress-free solutions to your towing service needs and much more.
Our trained and licensed drivers are ready whenever you need towing or roadside assistance. Contact our offices and speak to an expert today.