Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip or a quick jaunt to the next state over, it’s always important to drive safely. Most people underestimate how dangerous it can be to drive long distances, and eventually, they realize that their fatigue has led them to make the wrong decisions.
A car accident attorney in Tampa came across a case recently where a family was on their way to visit relatives for a holiday. The father was driving and fell asleep at the wheel, resulting in a devastating car accident that killed him and his wife and left their two young children paralyzed. Don’t put yourself in this situation; Read this article before going on your next road trip and make sure you don’t fall victim to some of the most common driving mistakes.
1. Make Sure Your Car Is in Good Condition
Before you set out on your road trip, make sure that your car is in good condition. Check the brakes, the tires, and the fluid levels. If something is wrong with your car, it’s better to fix it before hitting the open road. Otherwise, you could end up stranded on the side of the road.
2. Map Out Your Route
Don’t try to wing it on your road trip. Make sure to map out your route ahead of time. This will help you avoid getting lost, and it will also help you plan for rest stops and gas stations. Mapping out your route will also help you avoid traffic jams and other potential delays.
3. Pack Lightly
You don’t want to be lugging around a heavy suitcase while you’re driving, so try to pack light. Only bring the essentials with you, and leave the rest at home. This will make your trip a lot easier, and it will also free up some extra space in your car.
4. Take Breaks Often
It’s important to take breaks often when you’re driving long distances. Get out of the car and stretch your legs, or take a quick nap if you’re feeling tired. If you don’t take breaks, you’ll eventually start to feel exhausted, and you could end up getting into an accident.
5. Don’t Drive When You’re Tired
One of the most common causes of car accidents is driver fatigue. If you’re feeling sleepy, pull over and take a break. Drink some coffee or eat a snack to help wake yourself up. It’s not worth risking your safety just to save a little time.
6. Stay Alert and Don’t Talk on the Phone
It’s important to stay focused when driving, especially long distances. Avoid talking on the phone or texting while you’re behind the wheel. It’s not worth risking your life or the lives of others for a quick conversation.
7. Don’t Drive Under the Influence
It’s illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in every state, and for a good reason. Drunk drivers are a significant cause of car accidents and injure innocent people. If you’re going to drink, make sure you have a designated driver.
8. Follow the Speed Limit
It’s tempting to push the pedal to the metal when you’re driving on an open road, but it’s important to stay within the speed limit. Not only is it safer, but you could also end up with a ticket if you’re caught speeding. In 2017, a man was pulled over for driving 103 mph on an Arizona highway – arrested and charged with reckless driving.
9. Don’t Tailgate
Tailgating is dangerous and can easily lead to a car accident. If the driver in front of you slams on their brakes, you won’t have enough time to stop. Stay far enough back so that you can brake safely if needed.
10. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when driving, especially in unfamiliar territory. Watch out for construction zones, animals on the road, and other drivers who may be distracted or under the influence.
11. Use Your Blinkers
Another common mistake that drivers make is not using their blinkers. When you’re changing lanes or turning, make sure you use your blinkers so that other drivers know what you’re doing. It’s also important to use your turn signal when you’re slowing down or stopping so that people know you’re coming to a stop.
Driving on a long trip can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to stay safe while you’re on the road. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip without worrying about getting into an accident.