This holiday season, lots of people will be setting out for road trips with friends and family looking to have a good time and create some lasting memories. Most will (hopefully) turn out okay, but as it is always the case, there will be some unfortunate incidents. To keep safe and avoid any ugly incidents, here are some recommendations for enhancing your road trip safety.
Before Driving Anywhere
Before road tripping anywhere, check out your car. First, check the tire pressure, engine oil and windshield washer fluid and do replacements if necessary. Also, go for a full vehicle service a few days before the trip to make for stress free driving.
Stock Up on Meds
If you’re traveling out of town or deep into the countryside, it’s always a good idea to carry some medicines, particularly for common illnesses like fever, coughs, diarrhea, headaches and stomach issues. Additionally, make sure to bring a first aid kit containing supplies like bandages, rubber gloves, tweezers, and safety pins.
It may not be among the oft-repeated road safety rules but carrying some medical supplies on a trip could be a lifesaver where medical services are not immediately available.
Map Your Route Beforehand and Let Others Know
One sure way to practice road safety when going on a drive is to familiarize yourself with your route and know what conditions to expect during your trip. If it’s a road you’ve never been on before, make sure to carry out prior research on the kind of traffic to expect, any ongoing road construction, and any other present features such as higher altitudes. Also, be sure to check the weather predictions as conditions like fog and heavy rain can make safe driving almost impossible. Above all, share your route details and your departure and expected arrival times with one or two people back home and another at the place you are visiting.
Reduce Stress While Driving
Stress, or overthinking stuff, is highly distracting and can lead to loss of alertness while driving and consequently, accidents. So, it makes sense to eliminate or at least reduce stress while driving. One way to do this is by making sure you know your route well, as highlighted above. Secondly, take a few deep breaths when you encounter silly drivers instead of screaming and flipping the bird on them. And of course, try to put all your focus on the road before and around you and lock out every other unproductive thought.
Have Enough Rest
The importance of adequate rest and sleep to a driver cannot be stressed enough. A well-rested driver is less vulnerable to making driving mistakes compared to one who’s tired and stressed out. As you plan for a trip, ensure that your designated driver gets at least 8 hours of sleep the night before departure to keep him or her fresh, relaxed and alert. Additionally, have regular stops where the driver stops, stretches and grabs some food or drink (non-alcoholic) to replenish his energy and hence, concentration.
Food Safety for Road Safety
If you are traveling with your family, chances are that there are kids involved too. Therefore, pack some water, food, and snacks to keep everyone’s energy and hydration levels at reasonable levels. Do this even when going on short journeys as you never know what may occur and how long it will take to reach your destination. Carrying adequate food and water supply on trips could protect you from starvation and dehydration and potentially, illness or death, should you find yourself in unfortunate situations.
Focus on the Road Ahead, Not the Road Signs
We have all heard about the supposed importance of road signs towards improving safety on the road, and they are actually helpful, but not always. On your trip, pay more attention to the traffic before and around you than the road signs. For instance, even when the green light comes on, don’t proceed when the road ahead is not clear. Always practice lane courtesy which means to keep right unless passing. Most of all use common sense driving. Don’t needlessly put you and your family at risk.
Road trips should be fun and enjoyable not stressful and dangerous. If you plan ahead and practice some common sense road rules, you will have a most enjoyable trip!
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Scott Pine is a team building coach in the social marketing sphere, expert in life insurance, a traveler and car lover. Scott also works on several own projects, including AutoExpertGuides. Follow him on Twitter.