27 Feb Safe Driving Tips for Spring Break Traveling
It’s March, and that means spring break is almost here! If you have a vacation planned, chances are you’ll be driving or riding as a passenger in a car to get there. A 2016 report by AAA found that the reduction in gas prices from the previous year prompted Americans to drive more than ever, especially on road trip vacations. Although it takes longer, driving can be significantly more affordable than flying, but it can also be more dangerous. So what can you do to make your spring break road trip safer? Tiger Towing has a few tips.
Prepare your car for a long trip.
Before you even plan a road trip, you should ensure your car is up to standards for safe long-distance driving. Schedule an inspection at a local shop to make sure your engine and brakes are in good order and get an oil change and alignment while you’re there. Check your tires for proper tread and inflation, ensure your spare tire is in good condition and examine all exterior lights for brightness and function. Fill up your windshield washing fluid to keep your view unobstructed, and don’t forget to clear out the interior, too―a long trip is much more pleasant in a clean, uncluttered car.
Map your route in advance and plan where you’ll stop for breaks.
AAA recommends planning a break about every 100 miles, or every two hours, so you can get out of the car, stretch and stay alert. If you’re going a longer distance than you can safely drive in one day, you should also plan where you will stop to stay the night. There are several mobile apps you can download to help you track your trip and find places along your route to stop for a stretch, a bite to eat or an overnight stay. Especially if you’ll be driving somewhere for the first time or you’re unfamiliar with the route, it’s important to have a plan to avoid getting lost, taking wrong turns or adding extra time to the trip.
Don’t drive drowsy.
On a trip of any distance, you must not drive when you feel drowsy. If you find yourself yawning frequently, having difficulty focusing on the road or drifting from your lane, it’s a sure sign you should not be driving. Many people think they can down an energy drink and drive through the night to get to their destination faster, but that puts them at a much higher risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Whether you’re tired from lack of sleep or fatigued from driving for hours, you can’t rely on caffeine as a substitute for rest. Don’t put the safety of yourself or your passengers at risk―stop at a motel for the night and get some sleep, or switch drivers.
Set some rules with your passengers.
If you’ll be driving with passengers in your car, it’s important to talk with them beforehand to prevent distractions. Boredom can be a major factor on long trips for both the driver and passengers, but distracted driving should be avoided at all costs. Agree with your passengers to keep music and conversation at a safe volume, stay seated upright and facing forward with seatbelts on at all times, delegate smartphone usage and navigation to non-drivers and avoid interfering with the driver’s attention on the road. This greatly minimizes the risk of avoidable accidents due to distractions.
Practice defensive driving.
Many studies have shown that popular spring break destinations, such as in Texas, Alabama and Florida, see a spike in car accidents and fatalities during the month of March. These accidents are particularly common in younger, out-of-state drivers who are on vacation, and are often aggravated by other circumstances such as increased traffic and alcohol consumption. Stay safe on busy roads by remaining alert to changing traffic conditions, identifying potentially unsafe drivers and taking public transport or taxis whenever possible.
Road trips can be stressful, but with these basic tips, you can be prepared and spend more time relaxing and enjoying your vacation. Tiger Towing also recommends having a tow company on call in case of emergency, to assist in anything from flat tires to lockouts to collision removal. As always, Tiger Towing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for mid-Missouri drivers.