Summer Road Trips
Summer means longer road trips for many people, whether they are enjoying a weekend camping, visiting friends, going to the beach, or traveling to the nearest amusement park. Longer road trips mean more time on the road, more cars on the road, and can mean an influx of tired and distracted drivers.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, holidays are the most common time of the year for crashes. While this includes winter holidays, it also includes Memorial Day and July 4th. In 2017, there were 7 fatal crashes on Memorial Day and 4 on July 4th. While a few of them had to do with driving under the influence of alcohol, others were caused by other factors.
A typical summer road trip means more people than usual in your vehicle, more gear, louder music or more engaging conversations, and less focus on the road. Many people also travel with their pets, which can mean listening to a barking dog or dealing with a dog that is trying to crawl across a seat. All of this can make it much more difficult to drive safely.
Here are a few safety rules to remember when setting out on any road trip:
- Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition. Have a mechanic check it over before you leave.
- Only pack the necessities, and make sure they are properly secured in the trunk or in a professionally installed roof storage box that is tightly closed and locked. During crashes, many people are injured by debris flying across the car.
- If you plan to bring a pet, purchase a properly fitting seatbelt harness to keep them, and you, safe in the event of an accident.
- Ask passengers to keep volumes to a minimum, and give them a task such as to help you navigate or to entertain younger passengers.
- Have a plan for if you break down. Know the numbers of towing companies and ask your insurance what is covered.
- Know where you’re going. Missing a turn and trying to cross lanes or stopping to make a U-turn is one way to get yourself into an accident quickly. If you miss a turn, stay in your lane until you can safely exit and turn around.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and also avoid driving while drowsy, which can be just as dangerous in some cases.
Enjoy your trip!