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How can I Stay Safe on Long Road Trips?

On a long road trip, motorists can come across negligent drivers, traffic back-ups, adverse weather, and car problems. Being prepared can help make a long trip safer for everyone. The following contains important road safety tips to reduce the likelihood of a car accident.

Have a Plan

Take the time to figure out the route, including where and when one will stop for breaks and overnight stays. Drivers should make needed reservations in advance. Having a firm plan in place will lessen stress while driving. If one plans to stay at a hotel, a security system can keep the vehicle safe. Some insurers also offer discounts for car alarms.

Additionally, navigation systems are beneficial for all drivers. Program the navigation device and all other systems before getting on the road and while on breaks. If one wishes to listen to music while driving, they should preload the music ahead of time.

Having a plan is important, but unforeseen events can still happen, especially during the spring. For this reason, it is important to have a back-up plan. Adverse weather can come up quickly, and motorists may not be able to drive if conditions are poor. If one is already driving in inclement weather, they should pull over safely.

Stay Focused

There are many distractions on road trips, including cellphones, navigation systems, videos, loud banter in the car, pets, active children, loud music, and even road signs. Motorists should try to minimize distractions and use hands-free technology whenever it is possible. A helpful tip is to keep needed items within reach, such as toll passes. Additionally, children often get bored or impatient during long car trips, which can distract the driver. Motorists can keep them entertained with books, games, tablets, and other devices.

Another common cause of vehicle accidents is driver fatigue. Studies show that driving while tired can mimic driving while intoxicated. Pushing oneself to go another 100 miles or two hours will not make much difference in the end. Risking falling asleep while driving is simply not worth it. Tired drivers should pull over to rest or get a hotel room if it is needed. Also, motorists should not use medicines that cause drowsiness while driving.

Prepare the Car

Car problems can cause stress and even accidents. A blown tire, faulty brakes, or an overheated engine can be extremely dangerous on the road. Take the vehicle in for a check-up and oil change before hitting the road on a long trip. Do not forget to check wiper blades and fluids as well.

Drivers should keep a reliable spare tire, wheel wrench, and tripod jack in the trunk and know how to use them. If the tire has just lost pressure, a portable air compressor for tires is also handy until the tire can be thoroughly examined for problems.

Another helpful tip is to keep an emergency kit in the trunk. This kit can help in various road situations, including accidents, getting stuck in poor weather, and when the car has mechanical problems. A motorist can purchase a premade kit or assemble their own that contains the following items:

  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective caution tape and triangles
  • Flares
  • Reflective vest to wear for walking for help
  • Cellphone with car charger
  • Contact information for family and car services
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Duct tape
  • Blankets
  • Old towels or rags
  • Rain poncho, tarp, umbrellas
  • First aid kit

An important part of an emergency kit is having a first-aid kit. An accident or another event can potentially cause minor scratches, bleeds, or other medical conditions. The kit should contain band-aids, gauze, tape, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, cold packs, scissors, antiseptic wipes, gloves, and burn gel. Read-to-use kits are available in most pharmacy sections of stores.

Drive Defensively

A crucial tip is to always drive defensively. Some defensive driving practices include:

  • Taking extra time proceeding through stoplights and signs.
  • Allowing a safe distance between cars.
  • Using extra caution when changing lanes.
  • Using turn signals and lights.
  • Following the speed limit.
  • Keeping calm and focused around speeding and aggressive drivers.

Securing the seat belt is another important safety rule. Make sure everyone in the car is buckled up, including pets. Motorists should also make sure infants and children are in the proper type of seat for their age and weight.

What About Coronavirus Restrictions?

Experts recommend avoiding unnecessary travel amid the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If one does plan to drive, there are special health and safety COVID-19 guidelines to consider. Motorists should make sure to carry masks and antibacterial wipes in the car and suitcases. Drivers should call hotels and other destinations before they arrive to understand their safety measures as well. Motorists should frequently wipe down surfaces, wash their hands, use masks and gloves, and social distance from others.

If one is severely injured in a car accident during their road trip, they should speak to a lawyer about filing a personal injury claim. Even with extra precautions, a collision can still happen. A lawyer will help their client understand their legal options.

Millsboro Personal Injury Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Protect Victims Against Negligent Drivers

Road trips can be dangerous if drivers are not safe. No one should suffer the financial, physical, and emotional damages a negligent driver can cause. If you were injured in a car accident on a road trip, contact a Millsboro personal injury lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.