- 97.3 million people in the US traveled Christmas 2017
- An estimated 85% of vehicles on the road need repairs or preventative maintenance
- Cell phone use contributed directly to 14% of distracted driving deaths in 2015
Preparing for your next road trip can both help you avoid a serious car accident and reduce the risks that any sort of incident becomes a full-blown emergency.
Road accident statistics show that highway accidents and fatalities tend to spike around holiday travel periods. Chances are, if you’re making a road trip millions of other Americans are, too. An estimated 97.3 million people traveled by road during last year’s Christmas holiday period, according to AAA. The most dangerous time for road trips is during summer three-day weekends, especially on Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Even with these risks, you and your fellow travelers can be safer than the average person as long as you get ready to be safe and smart on the road. You can use the following road trip checklist, courtesy of our Pensacola car accident attorneys, to help you prepare.
Take Your Car in for Maintenance and a Tuneup
Your car should be in peak condition before you pull out of the driveway on your trip. If you’ve been putting off any scheduled maintenance, like replacing brake pads, go ahead and do it now — even if it’s a few weeks early.
Ask your mechanic to also check your fluid levels and perform a tune-up as needed. Get a quick inspection of your brakes, suspension, and battery just to make sure everything’s okay.
Definitely take care of any repairs or vehicle TLC you have been putting off. British American Auto Care estimates that as many as 85% of vehicles on the road need some form of repair or preventative maintenance. Don’t neglect something that can raise your risk of a making an accident more deadly!
Know Your Planned Route Before You Hit the Road
Cell phones can create serious distractions on the road, even if they’re just being used for navigation. 14% of road accident deaths from distracted driving involved cell phone use in 2015.
You can reduce your need to look at your smartphone while driving by studying your planned route ahead of time and printing out a physical copy of directions. These can supplement your navigation app and also help you out if your phone is being, shall we say, difficult.
Knowing your route by heart can also help you have your bearings. You’ll be less likely to miss a crucial turn and more aware of nearby locations if you have to seek out emergency services.
Stock up Your Emergency Kit
Every vehicle should carry an emergency supplies and first aid kit, especially if it’s about to embark on a lengthy road trip.
Stock your kit with first aid items as well as typical highway repair items, including road flares, tire changing tools, an emergency battery charger, and jumper cables.
Alongside those expected items, pack supplies you may need to use in the event of an emergency. Blankets, a tarp, clean drinking water, and non-perishable snacks can all be life-saving items in the event of an accident or incident.
Tell Someone When and Where You Plan on Traveling
While we live in age of smartphones, a little bit of redundancy never hurt anyone. Case in point: if someone knows you’re expecting to arrive at their house at a certain time and you miss that deadline by several hours, they may be able to correctly guess that you’ve been in an accident and need help. These individuals can supply vital information for rescue crews should you somehow get stranded or lost in an area without cell service.
You can also inform a trusted neighbor of your travel plans so that they can keep an eye on your property. Home break-ins tend to increase around periods where many people travel.
Get a Hands-Free Device
Dash phone mounts and Bluetooth phone speakers aren’t expensive, and they can be critical for reducing dangerous distractions while driving.
Many states, such as Georgia, even have hands free laws now that forbid handling cell phones even for navigation purposes.
Be Rested and Well Nourished Before Your Trip
Fatigue and hunger can affect your driving performance, increasing your chances of making a serious mistake. Make sure to rest up the night before your trip and eat a good, filling meal before departing. Take snacks along in case you get hungry before you plan on stopping.
If possible, arrange to switch places with another driver after driving for more than 3-4 hours.
Call Our Pensacola Car Accident Attorneys if You Get in an Accident
Every driver who has been in an accident deserves a chance at fair compensation for their injuries and property loss. If you have been in a serious accident where you suspect another driver may be partially or completely to blame, you have the right to pursue the maximum amount of damages under Florida law with the help of Pensacola car accident attorneys. Your damages can include repayment for medical bills as well as lost wages, suffering, or other losses.
Be safe this holiday period and during all your future roadtrips by planning ahead. Know, too, that you can contact our experienced car accident lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your possible personal injury claim.