Spring break is happening everywhere — and, with it, more time on the road, as many people drive to vacation destinations all over the country. Whether you’re heading out with roommates for fun in the sun or driving to a family vacation, how can you stay safe during travel? What safe driving tips should you keep in mind? Every year, the news shares reports about accidents that occurred during spring break — don’t let yourself become a statistic! When going on vacation this spring break, keep these eight driving tips in mind:
- Don’t Drink and Drive: It should probably go without saying, but since the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) cited over 10,000 deaths from alcohol-related accidents in 2013, a reminder to never drink and drive is important. If you know you’ll be drinking on vacation, don’t drive — call a cab or find a sober driver instead. If you drive while intoxicated, you are at a high risk for causing an accident, hurting yourself and others.
- Don’t Let Others Drink and Drive: Likewise, make it your responsibility to keep drunk friends off the road. If your buddy has had one too many, tell him you’ll give him a ride, or find a ride for him. By keeping one inebriated driver from causing harm to himself and others — you effectively make the roads safer for everyone.
- Take Breaks When You Need to: Driving when you’re overly tired is nothing to joke about — it causes at least 100,000 police-reported crashes every year, says research from the NHSTA published at DrowsyDriving.org. Listen to your body, and if you’re too tired to stay alert, ask someone else to drive or recharge at a rest stop. Making good time on the road is not worth causing an accident.
- Rotate Drivers: Especially if you’re driving a long distance — such as from Illinois to South Florida for the week — try to rotate drivers periodically. Even if you aren’t feeling tired, take turns behind the wheel. This gives everybody a break while also helping to proactively prevent drowsy driving.
- Break Up Your Drive: If you don’t have multiple drivers and/or if your trip is especially long, consider dividing travel plans across several days rather than in one nonstop trip. Pick a halfway point where you can rest for the night, or plan to visit and stay with friends who are along the journey. By breaking up the drive, you protect yourself from overextending your body during driving and causing problems on the road.
- Know Your Route: A lost driver can be easily distracted from what’s happening around him or her. Avoid this issue by studying your map ahead of time, programming your GPS and/or keeping maps in the car that a designated navigator can consult. When you know your route, it will be easier to stay focused.
- Be Alert to Road Conditions: While your final destination may be all fun and sun, the roads you have to navigate en route may still bear the marks of winter weather. Winter’s potholes and spring’s frequent construction make potentially hazardous road conditions, so stay alert about the places where you’re traveling.
Check Your Car: Before taking your car on a long trip, make sure it’s safe for driving — with “tires that are properly inflated, all fluids at their proper levels and … a full tank of gas,” suggests Independent Traveler. If you’ll be taking a long trip, you may want to take your car to a mechanic before your trip. When you’re heading out of town, the last thing you’ll want to be dealing with is oil leaks or busted brakes. Take precautions now to protect yourself.
This spring break, make the most of your travel plans by practicing safe and defensive driving while traveling. Whether your plans have you visiting with family in Tennessee or laying by sunny beaches in Texas, getting to your destination depends on how carefully you drive. Use the tips above to stay safe this spring break!
Kimberly Quinones is the Vice President of Sales in the Midwest. Her role oversees all aspects of sales, service and customer retention programs for Access Auto Insurance. She is a proactive leader who works side-by-side with her teams and customers to ensure a strong relationship is built. For more information go to: http://www.access-insurance.com/