Five Tips for Safe Travel During the Summer
Posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022 at 11:20 am
Road trips are a great American tradition, and summer vacation affords people the opportunity to get on the road for a long drive. Whether you’re packing the whole family in the car to go to Disney World or setting off on your own to find your inner Kerouac, summer’s a popular time for a road trip.
But it can also be a dangerous time to be on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic deaths in the U.S. were up even during the pandemic in 2020, and its historical data notes that some of the deadliest days to be on the road are in the summer months. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make you and your family safer on the road.
Get Your Vehicle a Check-Up Before You Go
Even before you set out on your trip, make sure your car is in working order. As the NHTSA notes, hot summer weather can impact belts and hoses. If you see anything wrong with them, replacing them now could make the difference between smooth sailing and being stranded on the side of the road.
Tires should be properly inflated and checked to make sure you haven’t run over anything that might cause a dangerous driving situation later. And your A/C’s not only essential for comfort. It can keep people who are sensitive to heat safe as you go from point A to point B.
Wear your Seat Belts
Simply put, seat belts save lives. The CDC reports that of the nearly 23,000 people who died in car accidents in 2018, more than half of those in the 13-44 age group were unbuckled in their fatal collisions.
Even if you’re trying to make good time, it’s better to pull over if someone needs to unbuckle for even a moment. Accidents can happen at any time — including when someone’s momentarily unbuckled to get something that’s rolled onto the floor or that’s in the back seat. You’re better off making the safe choice and pulling over or just waiting until you make your next stop.
Trying to make good time is the mission of a lot of road trippers, especially if they have kids in the car wondering, “Are we there yet?” But you most certainly want to avoid fatigue while behind the wheel of a car. It can sneak up on you faster than you might imagine.
The Road Trip Expert website advises taking a 15-minute break every couple of hours, upping that to 45 minutes total if you drive for 4.5 hours. They also suggest limiting your driving to nine hours a day. Moreover, one of those breaks should be at least half an hour. If you’re concerned about losing time, build the breaks around the things you need to do anyway, like stopping for gas and food.
Speed is a major factor in accidents and fatalities. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, speeding contributes to nearly 30 percent of all motor vehicle accidents and more than a quarter of all fatal accidents. The posted speed limits are there for a reason: They’re based on the condition of the road and the calculated safe driving speed for those conditions.
It’s also important to remember that when roads are wet or icy, you have to take it even slower than the speed posted on the white and black sign. Your stopping distance, should you need to make a sudden stop, is dramatically affected in those instances.
This might remind you of the days when you first learned to drive, but defensive driving is the best way to ensure your safety and that of everyone else in your car.
The most obvious tip is “don’t drive offensively.” That means:
- Don’t take needless chances or let road rage get the best of you.
- You should always scan the road ahead for anything that might be a concern or even a danger.
- Be mindful of anything that might distract you from paying attention, starting with your cell phone.
Even if you take all precautions to stay safe, you could still get into an accident — especially since other drivers might not be as careful as you’re being. If you’re based in Ohio or Kentucky, you’ve been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, and you need an attorney, reach out to the Cincinnati personal injury attorneys of Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC at (513) 351-5997. We can help you, starting with a free initial consultation to let you know your legal options. Then we can help you get the compensation you deserve.