5 Ways to Avoid Accidents on Road Trips
It may already be August 1, but summer is far from over. Since most schools do not begin until after Memorial Day weekend, there’s still plenty of time to fit in a last-minute road trip.
However, before you hit the road, here are some tips that can help you avoid car accidents or other mechanical issues on your trip.
According to safemotorist.com, August is the deadliest month to drive, with 4 of the top ten deadliest days to drive: August 3, 4, 6 and 12. Other dangerous days include July 3 & 4, September 2, December 23 and January 1. It is best to avoid travel on these days, but if you do plan on traveling, use extreme caution.
It can be assumed that almost all of us have a GPS app downloaded on our smart phones. These certainly come in very handy. However, you never know when either your phone could die or you could lose reception. It’s best to keep a road map in your car just incase one of these things happens. You don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere without any clue of where to go. Plan your trip before you go and be familiar with the direction you are headed.
It’s best to be up to date on things like oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid. Cars can have many unexpected occurrences, making it a potential danger for you and your loved ones on the road. You should also check all lights, including: headlights, blinkers and tail lights for nighttime travel. Not only is it a hazard to have lights out, but you definitely don’t want to be delayed by getting pulled over for a missing taillight. Also, it may sound a little intense, but I like to carry an emergency kit with me (especially in winter) just incase of a major car issue. Find one with a flare, flashlight, pocket knife, tire inflator, jumper cables, and perhaps carry some food and water along the way. Although it sounds like a lot to carry, most kits are pretty compact.
Pulling over on the shoulder can be pretty dangerous. Drivers can easily be distracted, and may not being close attention. To prevent an accident or an encounter that’s too close for comfort, you must remain visible. Always put on emergency flashers and be extremely careful when opening driver’s side doors. Watch your kids intently and try to pull over on a flat, straight portion of the road with no hills or curves - these may make it difficult for drivers to see you. At nighttime, it’s never too much to put a road flare or two up if you are planning on being pulled over awhile.
When headed on a road trip, chances are you have plenty of extra baggage or even bike racks or rooftop pods attached to your vehicle. The extra weight these add definitely influence how you drive. If you have a trailer, make sure the trailer lights work before you begin the drive. Also, use caution when making sharper turns, if you are carrying a heavy load in the trunk of your car.