Driving is one of the best ways to get to your destination when you’re going on vacation, and it’s one of the best ways to get around when you arrive. Unfortunately, an auto accident can leave you with injuries that include head and neck injuries, fractures, and even traumatic brain injuries. If you do find yourself in an accident with an injury, you will likely have to end your vacation early.
Don’t let an accident ruin your vacation! Here are a few ways you can prevent the likelihood of experiencing an accident while you’re on the road.
Tune up Your Car Before You Go
You should follow a preventative maintenance schedule to keep your car road-ready. That includes doing things like:
- Having your oil checked and changed regularly.
- Checking your battery and cleaning the contacts.
- Checking fluid levels, like wiper and transmission fluids.
- Replacing air filters.
- Checking the air in your tires and having them rotated.
Whether you follow a regular schedule or it has been a while since you’ve been in for a tune up, you should schedule an appointment to have one before you head on the road. It will ensure that your car is ready.
It also means making any necessary repairs. No one wants to shell out hundreds of dollars to fix the car when you’re going on vacation, but it’s better than finding yourself broken down on the side of the road or in a car accident in an unfamiliar town.
Plan out Your Route Ahead of Time
Chances are, you aren’t going to be familiar with the area where you’re driving when you’re on vacation. GPS has made finding our way all over the country a lot easier, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of the woods.
Looking at an old-fashioned paper map was a huge distraction, but fiddling with your GPS while you’re driving is a distraction too. Instead, plan out your route ahead of time. Get an idea of how long you’ll be on the road before your next turn on the interstate. A glance at your route through downtown, so a last-minute right-hand turn doesn’t put you at risk of an accident as you swerve to make it in time.
Follow the Rules of the Road
It’s easy not to follow the rules of the road, especially when the rules include how fast you’re driving. Although it can be tempting to go a little faster, it’s very dangerous for you to speed.
Not only can you get pulled over and get a ticket, which will keep you from getting to your destination on time, it can also put you and your family in danger. Driving just 10 or 20 miles above the speed limit can mean the difference between a minor accident and a deadly accident.
Keep everyone in your vehicle as safe as you can by following posted speed limit signs, as well as other signage that includes yield signs, no passing zones, and more.
GPS devices were mentioned earlier as a distraction in the car, but they are far from the only thing that can take your eyes and your mind off the road.
Common driver distractions include:
- Texting, calling, or receiving calls on a cell phone
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting controls, like the radio
- Brushing hair or doing makeup
Visual and manual distractions are the most common, but cognitive distractions can be just as dangerous. Although you may be excited about your vacation, focus on the road. Plan what you’re going to do when you get there instead of planning it while you’re behind the wheel.
Rest When You Need It
One of the most dangerous cognitive distractions is driving while tired. If you haven’t slept in 24 hours because you’ve been driving, it’s not any different than driving with a blood alcohol level of .10.
Don’t push through fatigue and keep driving when it can be so dangerous. If you’re having a hard time keeping your eyes open, or if you don’t remember any details about the last stretch of road you just passed, it’s a good indication that you should pull over and take a quick nap, or you should have someone else drive for a while.
Don’t let an accident cut your vacation short! You can spend hours behind the wheel driving in a location you are unfamiliar with and do it safely, as long as you follow the tips on this list.