The summer is almost upon us. And that means that many of us will be hopping into our cars and going on road trips to far-flung destinations.
Our cars are like a second home to many of us. We’re just so familiar with them. But because of this, we sometimes forget that being in a car is dangerous. Cars are nothing less than three-tonne death traps on wheels. Each year in the US alone, some 40,000 people lose their lives on the road. Many hundreds of thousands more are involved in accidents. Hence, the risk is real.
Nobody is clearer on the damage that can result from an accident than experienced car accident lawyer, Boris Lavent. He’s seen spinal injuries, internal bleeding and all sorts of horrific injuries while practicing.
Fortunately, there are things that the ordinary motorist can do to reduce the risk that they’ll come to serious harm. Here are some helpful tips for staying safe on the road.
Not Buckling Up
It’s been the law for a while now that everybody traveling in a car wear their seatbelt. But surprisingly, a lot of people still ignore this, despite the fact that they could face a fine and legal ramifications. Before setting off on your journey, make sure that everybody buckles up.
This includes backseat passengers too. Passengers who don’t wear their seatbelt can crush front seat drivers in the event of a collision. And this can ultimately do a lot more damage than the collision itself.
Not Taking The Equipment You Need
Often we’re on the road for a long time, especially if we’re traveling out of state. Thus, our cars often become our mobile homes. Unfortunately, a lot more can go wrong with a car than it can with our house, so it always pays to be prepared. Make sure that you pack all the things that you might need to keep your car on the move while you’re traveling. That includes things like a spare tire for flats, jump cables, and extra windscreen wiper fluid.
Nothing is worse than being stranded in the middle of nowhere. You’re all alone. And potentially, the weather can be dangerous. Often you become stranded because you run out of fuel.
To prevent this from happening, take a spare jug of fuel with you. Make sure you carry the fuel in an appropriate fuel container so that it is safe.
Not Being Well Rested
One of the biggest causes of accidents is driver drowsiness. Long journeys, sitting in the same position is enough to make many people nod off. And when they nod off the consequences can be devastating.
The best way to solve this is by taking preventive measures. First off, don’t embark on journeys when if you’re already feeling tired. Long motorway miles will add to your feeling of tiredness and make you feel even more like you want to fall asleep.
Secondly, don’t try to force yourself to stay awake while driving. Many people immediately reach for the coffee as soon as they’re feeling drowsy. But coffee often only has limited effects, especially if you’re used to drinking it. A lot of people also try other strategies to stay away. They turn up the radio, or they open the window to let cold air in. Once you find yourself trying these strategies, you are in great danger. So the best solution is simply to pull over in the next layby and stop the car.
Often just a quick 15 minute nap is enough to refresh you. It’s certainly a lot more desirable than carrying on and putting your life at risk.
Using The Breakdown Lane
Drivers often don’t realize that when they pull over onto the breakdown lane, they’re putting themselves at high risk. Traffic is careering past at high speeds. And often, the drivers of those vehicles aren’t paying a lot of attention to the road in front of them. It’s all too easy for a driver to stray into the breakdown lane and hit your car.
If you do find yourself broken down, move well off the highway. If there’s a crash barrier, hop over it and wait for recovery on the other side.
Using Your Mobile Phone
Ever since mobile phones were introduced, people have been using them while driving. But it was quickly recognized that doing so was very dangerous. Soon laws were introduced banning cellphone use while driving in most Western countries.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t use your phone at all. While most countries allow you to use a phone while driving, you have to do so hands free. Before you set off, plug in your hands free kit and set it all up so that when you get a phone call, you’re ready to take it safely.
Driving more than 500 miles in a single trip is tough for anyone, even the most experienced drivers. But if you have a long journey to make, you don’t necessarily have to do it alone. In fact, most long journeys you make are probably made beside somebody else.
Taking turns to drive is an excellent way to stay safe on the road. Swapping every couple of hours or so means that each person gets to take a break and rest. Plus, it means that while you are driving, you’ll be able to concentrate more on the road ahead.
Not Taking Regular Breaks
We’ve discussed the importance of taking breaks already from a driving safety perspective. It’s clearly a good idea to stop of regularly so that you can recharge for the next leg of your journey.
But taking regular breaks is also a good idea for your health. Sitting in the same position for hours on end can be damaging to your health. In extreme cases, it might help bring on thrombosis, or an interruption in blood supply.
But keeping things moving helps to keep your body moving and working as it should.