Five Ways to Stay Safe When Taking a Road Trip
Posted in: Advice> Travel
Driving to your destination on your next vacation comes with many benefits. It gives you complete control over your trip, you have the opportunity to stop and do fun things before you reach your destination, and it has the potential to save you money if you’re traveling with a group.
The problem with driving is that it can get long and tedious. You can expect to sit behind the wheel hour after hour. In contrast, you would be at your destination in just a few hours if you chose to travel by airplane instead.
Don’t let the long, tedious nature of your next road trip compromise your safety! Prepare for a successful and safe trip with these tips.
Do Not Drive in Other Drivers’ Blind Spots
You aren’t the only one that is getting tired of being on the road. You’re surrounded by drivers that are itching to get to wherever it is they are going. That can spell disaster, especially if you drive in others’ blind spots.
Avoid driving in someone’s blind spot by slowing down and merging into traffic behind them or speeding up and driving around them.
It’s especially important to never drive in a truck’s blind spot. If you can’t see the driver in his rearview mirror, you’re in his blind spot and you should move as quickly as possible. A truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which could seriously injure you and your passengers should they decide to merge into your lane because they couldn’t see you.
Know the Rules of the Road
It is important to know the rules of the road, and it’s important to understand courtesies that are common on the interstate.
Perhaps the biggest is knowing what lane to drive in. If you’re cruising, you should stay in the right-hand lane. If you’re passing, you can use the left, but don’t linger in the left-hand lane for too long. Not only will you frustrate faster moving traffic behind you, in some states, it’s even the law.
Rules also include using your turn signals appropriately and using your blinkers if you have to pull over on the side of the road. Avoid using your cell phone, unless you’re using GPS, in which case you should secure your phone to the dashboard so it’s easy to see.
Avoid the Interstate in Bad Weather
Driving in bad weather is a huge challenge, and higher speeds and increased traffic make it even more dangerous. If you can’t pull over and wait for the weather to pass, it’s a good idea to find an alternate route that keeps you away from the interstate.
No matter what road you’re driving on, tips for driving in bad weather include:
- Slow down if it’s icy or rainy
- Avoid tailgating
- Don’t brake when turning
- Turn on fog lights in heavy fog
- Avoid driving through flooded areas
It’s a good idea to prep your car before you hit the road if you expect bad weather. That includes inspecting your windshield wipers, cleaning your headlight covers, and stocking an emergency kit, just in case.
Know What to Do If You Experience an Emergency
Hopefully, you’ll make it to your destination without any problems, but you should be prepared for problems should they arise.
Never pull over and park on the side of the road unless it’s an absolute emergency. If you can pull over at the nearest exit, that should be your first option.
If you’re dealing with a flat tire, you should pull over as far on the shoulder on the side of the road as you can. Put on your hazards and replace your tire, if you know how. If you don’t, you should have important numbers programmed into your phone, like AAA, if you’re a subscriber.
Although you may want to cut down on the time you spend in the car, it’s not a good idea to do that if it means spending hours behind the wheel without pulling over to rest. It’s important to take care of yourself on the road!
Make plans to pull over at a rest stop, gas station, or a restaurant every couple of hours to stretch your legs, rest your eyes, and grab a snack. If you have another passenger in the car with a license, see if you can trade off driving.
Taking a road trip is a great way to start your vacation! With a careful eye and a little preparation, you can make sure you get to your destination quickly and safely.