May 18 2011
Summer is finally here! Changes are you just might be taking a road trip this summer. Whether you are heading to the beach the mountains or Grandma’s house somewhere in between it is important to practice safe driving and travel habits. The Garage Plan Shop recommends following this helpful tips from a traffic safety researcher.
1. Get your car in shape – Before you set out on your road trip, make sure your car is in tip-top shape. Have your oil changed, check your tire pressure and make sure your radiator is working.
2. Map your route – Map your route before you leave. Know which highways and roads you’ll be taking. Check traffic websites and other sites like Google Maps to help you plan your route and navigate construction zones. If your road trip is going to take more than a day’s travel time, check travel websites and book hotel rooms along your route. Don’t forget to pack your maps and any hotel confirmation numbers.
3. Know the safe times to travel – Studies show roadways are most dangerous late and night and early in the morning when drivers are more likely to be intoxicated or tired. Plan to depart around 7:00 AM and arrive at your hotel or destination no later than 10:00 PM.
4. Plan for kids and pets – If you’ll be brining your kids or your pets on your road trip, it takes a little extra planning. Pack a cooler with snack and drinks for the little ones. Also bring card games, books, handheld games, favorite music CDs, books on CD or a few small toys to entertain the kids. Plan on playing travel games in the car to pass the time. Do not for get to bring food and water for your pets.
5. Plan to take breaks – Plan to pull over every 2-3 hours to stretch your legs, give your eyes a quick break and recharge. Take a restroom break. Let the kids run around for a couple minutes and walk the dog. Everyone will feel better about getting back in the car again. If you are traveling with another driver, take turns driving in shifts so no one experiences fatigue.
6. Do not drink – It is illegal and it is not safe to drink and drive. Research indicates just one alcoholic drink may cause important changes in cognition affecting your ability to drive and make good judgments. Avoid any alcoholic drinks while your road trip is in progress. Wait until you get to the beach or the mountains and enjoy your favorite adult drink with dinner.
7. Wake up or catch up on sleep – According to statistics, in 2009 over 100,000 car crashes resulted due to drowsy driving. If you are driving in shifts with another driver, take a nap while the other person is behind the wheel. If not, pull over in a safe well-lit place and take a quick power nap. Better yet, plan to check into your hotel early in the evening so you can go to bed early and be refreshed for the next day’s drive.
We all look forward to summer vacations and perhaps road trips make for the best memories. Take these precautions to make sure this summer’s road trip is safe and memorable.