Summer vacation season is here, and people around the country are planning trips to Florida and other fun location. A car accident can quickly turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. While you can’t control every factor that contributes to an accident, you can take precautions that will make you less likely to find yourself in a bad situation. Here are five driving tips from the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. that you can use for road trip safety this summer.
Keep an Emergency Kit Ready
Many of the issues that can turn a road trip into a road catastrophe can be prevented by planning ahead. Whether traveling for five miles or 500, it’s vital that every driver carry an emergency kit with essential items. You can find packages at a store or assemble one for yourself. Your emergency car supplies should include a mobile phone charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, drinking water, extra snacks and food, jumper cables, emergency flares or reflectors, windshield wiper fluid, and a basic toolkit with a tire pressure gauge and an adjustable wrench. AAA estimates that more than 40 percent of motorists don’t carry such an emergency kit even though it’s one of the easiest and most valuable summer driving safety tips to follow.
Be Prepared for Increased Road Hazards
Traffic accidents increase during the summer because there are more people on the roads. For example, out-of-school teenagers are more likely to be driving than during other parts of the year. The increase in inexperienced drivers creates additional challenges for everyone else. Additionally, the warmer weather attracts more pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists to the roadways, which increases congestion. Though you can’t reduce the number of hazards, you can improve your awareness of them.
Get Your Car Serviced Before Your Trip
Having car trouble while on vacation can immediately kill the fun when you’re on vacation. Not only do car repairs take money that you planned to use for the vacation, but a breakdown at high speeds on the highway can also lead to devastating accidents. Having regular maintenance performed, such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations, do a lot to prevent sudden breakdowns. To ensure everything is ready for the trip, schedule a preventive maintenance checkup with your mechanic.
Get a Good Night’s Rest Before Driving
Safe driving requires alert, attentive drivers. Embarking on a road trip without getting enough rest is a recipe for disaster. According to AAA, “Missing just two to three hours of sleep in a 24-hour period can quadruple a driver’s crash risk, and drivers who have slept less than five hours in a 24-hour period have crash risks comparable to drunken drivers.” Make sure to stop and take a break if you’re starting to get drowsy. The symptoms of drowsiness include trouble keeping your eyes open, drifting between lanes, not being able to remember the last few miles, yawning, missing exits or street signs and feeling irritable or restless.
Load Your Vehicle Appropriately
Summer trips often involve heavier loads than everyday trips. Vacationers may be carrying a lot of luggage or hauling a recreational vehicle. If these loads aren’t anchored properly or distributed evenly, they can cause significant issues while driving at high speeds. Besides being incredibly inconvenient, losing your luggage while driving can cause accidents. Similarly, an unbalanced load can affect the way your vehicle handles. For example, placing bikes on the top rack increases the wind resistance of the car, so using a rear rack may be more appropriate for long trips. Also, make sure your tires are properly inflated so they can handle the increased load.
With a little planning, drivers can avoid many of the issues that can ruin a vacation before you even reach your destination. However, if you’re involved in a car wreck despite your preparations, the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help. Our team is highly experienced in assisting people in getting adequate compensation from insurance companies when they’re involved in an accident. Send us a message online if you have any questions about an accident-related issue.