Going on a long car trip can be a soothing experience for the whole family. You can admire beautiful landscapes, take photos, and spend nights in cities you’ve never been to. Unfortunately, despite all the pleasantries, there’s also a negative side to the story.
Long trips can be physically draining, especially if you’re the driver. So much so they can lead to horrible accidents. “Car crashes caused by exhaustion are one of the main causes of vehicular deaths,” warns DueJustice.com, a personal injury law firm. According to them, good preparation is the best way to avoid these mishaps.
To help you stay safe on the road and have a pleasant journey, we’ve listed 6 ways to prepare for a long car trip. Enjoy!
1. Perform a maintenance check
To be honest, you don’t have to be tired to suffer an accident. All you need is a small car malfunction to completely change the course of your life. And during these long trips, these breakdowns are more likely to happen.
You should focus on brakes, tire pressure, and hoses during a routine car checkup. It’s also important to check your airbag and belts, as they provide additional protection in the worst-case scenario. Recharging your AC might not be as important as the previous entries, but it can still improve the quality of your trip.
2. Check the map in advance
Modern drivers have become too dependent on their GPS systems. Although these devices are invaluable in large urban areas, they’re not as important on the open highway. Whatever the case may be, we suggest that you check the maps and plan your journey in advance.
This is important not only for your safety but for the overall experience. For example, you should review all the tourist attractions on the way and decide which ones are worth the visit. Lastly, make sure to check the weather and traffic reports to stay on the safe side.
3. Adjust according to road conditions
Speaking of weather, drivers should adjust their plans according to the road conditions. This is especially true when traveling with kids or on unknown country roads. If you’re going through small rural areas, expect to encounter a few potholes along the way. These can be especially dangerous during reduced visibility.
The best thing you can do about rough weather is to delay your trip or drive much slower. A careful driver will also check the traffic report. Although road repairs and traffic delays aren’t an issue by themselves, they can significantly prolong your journey. As such, they can increase fatigue and, thus, the likelihood of driving mistakes.
4. Control your fatigue
As mentioned in the intro, exhaustion is one of the more common causes of traffic accidents. It’s prevalent among people who have to drive a few hours after work. If you’re one of these individuals, we suggest that you rent a motel room. Lack of sleep destroys your focus and ability to react quickly in traffic.
Staying on the topic of fatigue, you shouldn’t drink or use substances before the trip. Even if you’re a young person, you shouldn’t overestimate your recovery rate. Furthermore, if you ever get tired while driving, ask one of the passengers to take your place.
5. Turn off your cell phone
Unless you intend to take some photos along the way, we suggest that you turn off your cell phone.
This device can cause direct and indirect distractions. Talking and driving is a big no-no and probably one of the dumbest things you can do behind the wheel. Even a phone ringing can cause a distraction that can cause a crash.
People rarely consider mobile devices’ indirect impact. For example, you might receive disturbing news while driving that can impair your judgment. Or your family member might tell you to make a detour causing you to suddenly break in heavy traffic.
Whatever the case may be, save it for later. It’s much more important to be undisturbed during this time and to fully enjoy the driving experience.
6. Don’t disregard traffic signs
One of the most common highway mistakes is not adhering to the speed limit. The local authorities enacted these rules to keep you safe, so it’s much better to respect them. Even if you’re driving a sturdy vehicle, you can still endanger people in the other car.
Even if we disregard the signs, you should still adjust your driving speed and style according to the weather and traffic conditions.