Road trips can be a blast, but you want to make sure you’re keeping safety in mind when you travel by car. Follow these five tips to make your journey one you will remember for all the right reasons.
Plan Your Route in Advance
Even if you’re not going any great distance, plan your route well ahead of time. This lets you see if there is road construction or closures, especially in warm weather months.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Accidents happen when drivers speed and get tired. It’s always better to stop for the night and rest than to try to do too much in one day.
If it takes, say, six hours to get from A to B, plan on seven or eight hours. This gives you a buffer for rest stops, meals, traffic, and bad weather.
Do the Bulk of Your Driving During the Day
Plan to do the largest portion of travel during daylight hours. This lets you avoid driving when tired and in low-visibility conditions, when accidents happen more frequently. It can be tempting to make faster time by driving at night, but it’s just not worth it. Try to be off the road enjoying refreshment before rush hour starts, which is statistically more dangerous.
Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Ready for the Trip
Taking your car or truck to the mechanic prior to a long road trip is worth it. Have a pro check over the vehicle for the following:
- Changing the oil and any filters
- Topping off all fluids
- Replacing worn windshield wipers
- Looking at the tires and adding air as needed
- Making sure lights and directionals function properly
- Fixing any mechanical problems
- Evaluating trailer hitches and roof racks
Once on the road, practice defensive driving. This means assuming that other motorists may make errors, so give them extra time and space. There’s nothing to be gained by making it through a stop sign a few seconds ahead of another driver when you can just let them go first and proceed after them more safely.
Other defensive driving tips include:
- Don’t speed or drive too fast.
- Pay attention and avoid talking on the phone or listening to loud music.
- Leave at least a few car lengths between you and the driver in front of you.
- Drive in the safest lane whenever possible. If you are on a highway, that’s usually in the middle, with slower and faster traffic on either side of you.
- Use your directional lights when turning or changing lanes.
- Be extra cautious going through traffic lights, especially when turning left.
- Avoid driving too close to trucks, including when passing, and if necessary, pull off the road and let trucks pass.
- Don’t indulge in road rage; let dangerous drivers go, and keep a safe distance from them.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol.
Carry Your Auto Insurance Information with You
Always have your auto insurance information with you. This includes three vital components:
- Your insurance ID card with your policy information, in case you are stopped by law enforcement or get in an accident
- Contact information for your agent if you have to file a claim
- The number to call for roadside assistance if you experience mechanical difficulties
Taking a long road trip is the ideal time to consider if your auto insurance is giving you the right coverage. For more help, call Clayton Hanley Insurance at 314-487-2921, or get in touch online for a quote.