A little planning can go a long way when it comes to road trips. Safe driving is the key to arriving at your destination safely and well-rested. Before you hit the I-15, or the 10 Freeway – two of the most notorious Southern Californian routes for auto accidents – consider these 11 tips for avoiding car accidents on your trip:
1. Take your car in for a tune-up.
If you do your own maintenance, give your car a once-over before hitting the road. If not, ask your mechanic to check the battery, tire pressure, belts, and fluid levels before heading out.
2. Prioritize sleep.
Caffeine will only take you so far. The National Sleep Foundation say to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep in the nights leading up to your trip, and pull over and nap if needed. Supplementing a lack of sleep with caffeine can make drivers jittery, and the effects will not last for very long.
3. Create a driving schedule.
If you are traveling with licensed passengers, trade off driving times as needed throughout the trip. Trade off when you feel tired or after you stop to fill up the tank and stretch your legs.
4. Examine your route ahead of time.
GPS technology sometimes gives drivers a false sense of security. If you lose the signal in a rural area, you may not know where to go if you have not reviewed your route. Keep a printed copy of your directions or use a traditional map if you plan to travel in remote areas.
5. Avoid risky behavior.
Hopefully you know not to drink and drive on your trip, but you may not think much about driving while hungover. If you are not fully alert and focused on driving, let someone else take the wheel. Alternately, delay your trip until you feel better.
6. Carry a first-aid kit.
If you do get into an accident or run into other troubles on the road, a first-aid kit may come in handy. Keep jumper cables, first-aid care, water, a flashlight, and blankets in the car just in case. If you have an AAA membership or another roadside assistance service, check that you have the number ready in the event of an emergency.
7. Notice changing road signs and laws.
In a day, you may drive through several jurisdictions with different cell phone laws. Remember that since 2008, California has prohibited the use of cell phones while driving without a hands-free function. Read up on the rules ahead of time, or let a passenger control your phone. Watch road signs on unfamiliar routes for changes in speed and roadway hazards.
8. Fill up regularly.
Do not wait until your gas indicator comes on to find a gas station on a road trip. In some “nearby” rural areas, you may not find a gas station in time. Fill up when your tank falls to the quarter mark to give yourself enough mileage to find a gas station.
9. Watch the weather.
Driving in the rain increases the likelihood of an incident. If a storm is on the move, consider stopping to wait it out or changing your travel plans. You may find a route around the storm.
10. Mix up the environment to stay focused.
Do not allow long, straight pathways to lull you into a false sense of security. Change the music, roll down the windows, and adjust your driving position to maintain alertness.
11. Enforce the seatbelt rule.
On long trips, children and adults may want to ease out of an uncomfortable seatbelt. Ask that all passengers wear seatbelts in the vehicle for safety. It may save their lives.
Road trips can be fun bonding experiences for friends and families! Stay safe and avoid accidents on your next trip using these tips from the Riverside auto accident attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP. We are always available to answer your legal questions about car accidents locally and on road trips. Call us today at 951-543-9020 for a free consultation.