The summer is almost upon us and families, couples, and solo travelers will be hitting the road to go to different destinations. Many people rush out the door without taking proper precautions with their vehicle. This can lead to disastrous consequences for themselves and for other travelers. Take your time, check your car, and stay safe on the road by following these tips.
Check Your Car’s Fluids
Your car requires regular maintenance to run safely. Whether you are going across town or across the country, it is a good idea to check your oil, coolant, and wiper fluid levels before each trip.
If you find a low fluid level, this gives you time to replenish the fluid before causing serious problems. It also gives you a chance to spot any other issues that might be present that you otherwise would not have noticed.
Check Your Tires
Your tires are essential to keeping you and your passengers safe while on the road. Overinflated and underinflated tires can lead to deadly car accidents. You need to make sure your tires are properly inflated.
It is best to check them when they are cold, so look at them before you drive anywhere. Make sure they are inflated to comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations. You can usually find this information posted inside the driver’s side door.
Pack Safety Essentials
Even in the summer, you could encounter bad weather, depending on where you plan to travel. You need to make sure your vehicle is prepared with safety equipment to keep you safe should you get stranded.
You should pack:
- At least 1 gallon of water per person.
- First aid kit.
- Jumper cables.
- Printed maps in case you are going to remote areas without cell service.
- Tool kit.
- External battery chargers.
- Additional batteries.
Do not pack candles or matches. While a candle can be used to keep you warm, it is also a fire hazard. You are much better off using flashlights to see and blankets to keep warm.
Get Enough Sleep
Besides taking care of your vehicle, your body needs proper attention, too. Studies show that driving drowsy puts your mind in a state similar to driving while drunk. Before you set off on your trip and during the trip, if you take multiple days on the road, make sure you get enough sleep.
If you feel yourself getting sleepy, pull over. It is not worth the risk of injuring yourself or others in a drowsy driving accident.
Drink enough water, especially while driving. Drinking plenty of water will help you stay awake and alert. Do not overdo the caffeine intake. This can make you jittery and distract you from driving. You are better off drinking water instead.
Make Regular Stops
Another benefit of drinking plenty of water is that you will need to stop regularly. Making stops can slow down your progress, but it also helps keep you alert and healthy.
Sitting for long periods is not good for your body. By getting out of the car and walking around for a few minutes every couple of hours, you not only give yourself a chance to stretch, but you also get to feel refreshed.
Keep Gas Mileage Up
With gas prices continuing to rise, taking a road trip is now more costly. Fortunately, you have some control over how much you spend on gas on your road trip. By driving less aggressively and keeping a steady speed, you can keep your gas mileage up and your fuel costs down.
You can also ensure your gas mileage is high by keeping your tires properly inflated. The right tire pressure helps to reduce your fuel spending. You can remove excess weight from your vehicle, too. The heavier your car, the less fuel efficiency you will have.
Avoiding all distractions will help keep you safe on the road. Your mobile phone is the most obvious distraction, so put it away. If you need it for directions, keep it out of arm’s reach.
However, there are more distractions than just your phone. Make sure that your passengers, especially young children, know that you need to focus. While you can, and should, engage in conversation, do not let it become a distraction and take your mind off the task at hand.
Avoid Aggressive Drivers
While you cannot predict what other drivers will do, if you spot an aggressive driver, ignore them. If you engage with them, you are more likely to get into an accident.
When you see an aggressive driver coming up behind you, get over and let them pass. Slowing them down will only enrage them further. Let them pass by you.
Get a Full Maintenance Check
Before embarking on your road trip, no matter how long it is, it is a good idea to get a full vehicle maintenance check which will help uncover any dangerous issues. Your maintenance shop will also top off your fluids for you, checking off another item on your list.
Even if your car has recently been in for an oil change, you should still have a full check. They probably did not do a full inspection when they changed your oil so bringing it in for this specific purpose is the best idea.
While you know your route, you should also know where you plan to rest. Especially on longer, multi-day road trips, knowing the major cities you are passing through will help you plan much better.
Avoiding any major cities during rush hour, both morning and night, is also great advice. Not only will this help keep your stress levels down, you will also keep a more constant speed which helps reduce your fuel costs.
Have an Alternate Plan
Even when you plan out every single detail over your road trip, something can still go awry. Whether you get stuck behind an unexpected traffic jam or bad weather causes you to slow down, having an alternate plan will ease your tension and ensure you arrive safely to your destination.
Especially when approaching major cities, it is a good idea to know where you might want to stop before you hit the city. If you encounter an accident, traffic jam, or any type of slow down, you will already know where you plan to stop to rest or for the night.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Can Help You if You Have Been Injured on a Road Trip
Road trips can be fun. You may get to experience a new place, see new parts of the country, and visit with friends and family. However, long road trips also present dangers to you and your passengers. If you end up in an accident, you should get legal advice. Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you if you have been injured in a collision. Call us at 215-569-8488 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania, as well as Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.