While there are numerous aspects about driving that can be discussed, there is no more important issue than your safety on the road. Every other driving issue pales in comparison to ensuring that you and your loved ones safely get from point A to point B.
Here are some handy tips that will help keep you safer during your journey:
Don’t rely entirely on GPS
While GPS will prove to be of great assistance to you, that doesn’t mean that you should place complete faith in its abilities to guide you to your destination. A GPS app or device may not work at times, especially in areas with remote coverage. That’s why it is advisable for you to bring along either a road atlas or detailed map as backup, as this will ensure that you aren’t placed in vulnerable positions when you are lost and can’t find your way to your destination.
Share the load
If you are going on a long drive, it is preferable to share some of the driving responsibilities with someone else. This will ensure that you don’t overextend yourself and are able to take naps without losing any driving time. If you have to drive alone, make sure that you keep yourself alert by playing music on the radio and leaving your window slightly open. Driving while tired can prove to be extremely dangerous, as your alertness and concentration will be significantly impaired.
Store away your valuables
Valuable items that are clearly visible in your vehicle are an attractive target for would-be-criminals. It’s therefore important that you lock away all of these valuables in either your boot or glove compartment and store any luggage in the boot. Doing this will not only discourage smash-and-grab criminals from targeting your vehicle, but also make it much harder for them to steal your valuable goods.
Prep your vehicle properly for a long trip
Before embarking on a long trip, it is critical that you make sure that your vehicle’s vital functions are working properly. As such, make sure that all your vehicle’s fluids are at a correct level, that your battery is properly charged and that your tyres are properly inflated and in an appropriate condition for a long journey. If you are going o n a particularly long trip, it is advisable for a mechanic to conduct an even more thorough check of your vehicle.
Fill up when you need to
It’s better not to “play dice” with your fuel tank, especially when you’re on a long road trip. On unfamiliar roads, you never know when the next petrol station will appear, so if you see the fuel gauge resting on a quarter tank, you should fill up as soon as possible. If you need some help locating a petrol station, you can download smartphone apps such as Gas Guru and GasBuddy.
While it should go without saying that everyone should wear their seatbelt, the point needs to be emphasised strongly. Statistics have shown that those who don’t buckle up are at a significantly increased risk of dying in a crash, with nearly half of the adults who died in car crashes having been unrestrained at the time of their death. It’s also important that backseat passengers buckle up, which is something that passengers often forget to do.
Stay away from the bottle
It may seem like obvious advice to say that one shouldn’t drink and drive, but it’s less obvious to say that you should completely cut out any pre-trip binging. It’s advisable that you don’t drink any alcohol at all a few hours prior to your trip, as while you may not become drink from one beer, it can make you sleepy and impair your ability to be alert and adaptable on the road.
It’s crucial that you have sufficient energy before a long trip so that you don’t tire and can maintain full focus and concentration on your driving duties. As such, ensure that you get enough sleep beforehand and try to eat a small snack or meal. Try not to go too heavy on the caffeine, as while this will initially make you more alert, it will eventually make you less alert over time.
Always be cognisant while driving of the appropriate behaviour you should adopt on the road. Don’t speed, obey all applicable road laws and don’t drive aggressively. If you have to stop and pull over at any point during your trip, move your vehicle off the road and don’t park in the emergency lane unless there is a real emergency occurring.
Plan your trip properly
The more clued up you are on the best route to take and the expected weather conditions for the day or night, the more equipped you will be to handle any situation. Thus, you should use a map book and/or your GPS to plan a route with the least congested traffic, and you should preferably not travel at a time of day when inclement weather such as heavy showers are expected.
Enjoy your trip and stay safe on the road!
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