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September 20, 2021

Taking a Long Drive? 5 Essential Road Safety Habits to Keep

Technology is but a creation of man. So when technology fails us on our roads, then ultimately it’s the responsibility of man to keep it under reins. Many may conclude that the recent spate of accidents involving Tesla’s self-driving cars could be traced to the Autopilot self-driving feature of the brand. To date, these automobile accidents have resulted in at least 17 injuries, plus one death. Truth be told, the innovative car company could be held responsible as Autopilot is their creation.

Taking a Long Drive

It’s always best therefore that you be as prepared as ever when you navigate the road — especially true if it’s a long drive. You certainly cannot afford to be fooling around when behind the wheel. The U.S. road crash stats show over 38,000 Americans perish every year. Add about 4.4 million people seriously injured in these accidents yearly and you know keeping yourself as safe as possible on the road pays big time.

Fortunately for you, it’s all about keeping the right habits. Doing the right things habitually can ease the pain of forgetting things. Best of all, these habits are easy to keep. That said, making sure you put them at heart is a good start to your long journey.

Prepare Your Car

Not looking into how road-ready your vehicle for a long drive is, without a doubt, the biggest blunder you can make when taking on a long drive ahead. Unless your car is brand new and has just come out of the dealership, it’s highly likely to have accumulated various punishments while on the road.

What that means is your vehicle could be far from being the most capable transportation you think it is. All the more you need to be cautious if you’re looking at spending an inordinate amount of time driving.

Thus, before you engage the long and perhaps winding road ahead, make sure you check the following in your car:

  • Tire pressure
  • Brakes
  • Spare tire
  • Coolant
  • Oil
  • Belts, caps, filters, and hoses
  • Signal lights, lights, wiper blades, wiper fluid

Another good habit to keep is to drop by a trusted auto mechanic repair shop every six months. While checking them yourself is wise, having expert mechanics examine your car’s health is paramount. It means you’re letting people with the right expertise and tools get the job done as thoroughly as you need them to be.

Prepare Yourself

It’s true your vehicle is your means of transportation. It needs to be in top condition. But let’s not forget that you as the driver are a greater part of that equation. Far too often, accidents on the road happen because of negligent drivers.

For instance, when you’re too tired to drive, you’re prone to lose your focus on the road. And that can be deadly. If you look at the leading causes of road accidents, you’ll see that top of that list is distracted driving. Having a good night’s rest, therefore, is key to arriving at your destination in one piece.

Additionally, you should also strive to equip yourself. Make sure you charge your mobile phone and it’s loaded so you can connect online or via SMS. Even better, bring an extra phone or battery. Doing so can be a lifesaver especially if you’re traveling on the road.

Other things you need to look into are:

  • Extra shirt/shorts
  • First aid kit
  • Water/food
  • Pillows and blankets
  • flares/jumper cables
  • maps/travel brochures
  • Cutting tool/tool kit
  • Chains for traction (winter driving)
  • Waterproof matches

Additionally, be in the know. Equip yourself with the latest weather and news updates. In the age of the pandemic, knowing which county is experiencing massive infection can make a huge difference in your safety, your family including.

Make Reservations Ahead

Planning for an overnight rest is a good strategic move if you’re in for a long journey. Forcing your way to a longer trip than you usually make can take a huge toll on your body. When you’re at your wit’s end, your decision-making on the road suffers.

Good habits to keep when booking a night of stay are:

  • Make your reservations ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute or you could end up sleeping in your car. Local events such as a rally, a concert or whatnot could fill bookings up in no time.
  • Plan ahead for your hotel bookings. Having to drop by each hotel to choose from is counterintuitive. Just give them a call ahead of time or book online.
  • A good time to make a booking if you’re on the road is right after lunchtime as this is the usual checkout time. Late afternoons could be too late for you.

Pay Attention to Gas Mileage 

Don’t let your car rid you of your precious dollars by guzzling on too much gas than needed. Some habits you need to keep in this regard are:

  • Don’t step on the gas. Rather, slow your acceleration down. To go from 0 to 60 MPH, accelerate every 15 seconds so you can save as much as 30% on your gas mileage.
  • Buy gas at the coolest time of day. It’s at this time that gas is densest.
  • It’s best to maintain moderate speed. A good rule of thumb is keeping it at 55 MPH; over 10 to 15 miles that and you’re spending 21% more than you have to.

Be Alert While on the Road

The road is filled with surprises. It’s best you are in the ‘here and now’ and be alert out there to avoid crashes and accidents. Some habits to keep are:

  • Always be wary of road hazards.
  • Give way to aggressive drivers.
  • Be cautious of driver tailgaters
  • As much as possible, avoid pulling over on the roadside unless it’s called for
  • Take a break from driving now and then. Rest only in well-lit stops with people.
  • Have another one drive to avoid fatigue.

It’s all about prevention. After all, an ounce of preventive measures while on the road is better than a pound of cure for untoward accidents. That’s why keeping good habits is as spot-on as can be.

Craig Bowen

Certified alcohol practitioner. Professional writer. Pop culture fanatic. Student. Explorer. Music scholar. Lifelong creator. Managed a small team developing strategies for puppets in Suffolk, NY. Spent high school summers building toy soldiers in Africa. Spent the better part of the 90's getting my feet wet with magma in Africa. Practiced in the art of writing about heroin in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Earned praised for my work lecturing about bagpipes in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Spent several months working on heroin for farmers.

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