Spring is officially here- which means warmer weather, vacations, and road trips. If you're planning a road trip with your friends or family, the following tips are helpful to keep in mind.
Tips for Safer Road Trips
#1 - Take your car in for a check up.
Some people check in with their doctors first to make sure they're cleared to play a new sport. You should check in with your mechanic to make sure that your car is ok to hit the road.
This includes oil changes, making sure your tires are in good shape, topping off and checking any other fluids, and making sure that everything else looks good with your vehicle.
#2 - Renting a car? Know the technology inside.
Too often, those who rent vehicles jump into them and hit the road without first reviewing all of the safety features and other various technological quirks. Today's vehicles are equipped with backup cameras, blind spot triggers, DVD players, and countless other buttons and symbols that you may not necessarily be familiar with or used to because you may not have them in your own vehicle. In some cases, it's been reported that some people don't even know how or where the button is to open up their gas tank!
Take a moment to review the safety features, buttons, and symbols with your rental car agent. This can save you time and frustrations on the road.
#3 - Plan ahead, and be prepared.
One of the best things you can do for yourself (and for those who are traveling with you) is be prepared. If you're taking a road trip from Indiana to sunny Florida, know where the rest stops are along the way, and make sure to pack a first aid kit, non-perishable food and water, and other emergency items.
If you are traveling across the country by car, you'll also want to dress appropriately. Pack extra blankets, and keep a small backpack filled with items in the event that you have to abandon your vehicle.
#4 - Get plenty of rest.
It goes without saying that if you're the one doing all of the driving, it is absolutely necessary that you get plenty of rest - not just the night before your big trip- but even the week leading up to it.
Plan to take plenty of breaks along the way, and if you start to feel tired, allow another responsible, licensed adult to take the wheel. If you're the only designated driver, then plan to pull over in a safe place and take a break until you feel safe to resume driving.
#5 - Avoid distractions while driving.
Distracted driving is the leading reason for most vehicle accidents and deaths. Examples of distracted driving include:
- Talking on the phone
- Engaging in social media
- Taking pictures
If you are on a road trip, and you see something that you want to take a picture of or post to social media, have another passenger in the car manage it. In fact, it may be helpful to designate another passenger as the "picture taker" prior to departing. If you see something that you want to photograph or post to social media yourself, pull your vehicle over and then take a picture or have a conversation, etc.
The most important thing to keep in mind is paying attention so that you and your passengers can make it to your final destination safely.