Summer Road Trip Safety: Tips for Avoiding an Accident
According to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), car accidents spike during the warmer months of the year. With more cars on the roads, an increase in motorcycles, and an increase in teenage drivers, summer tends to see more auto accidents. August is in fact considered the deadliest month for car accident fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In data collected from 1975 to 2002, the NHTSA found that there was a spike in car accidents fatalities in July and August followed by a gradual decrease the proceeding months. The conditions of the road during these months such as more vehicles and an increase in motorcycles are part of the reasons behind summer car accidents.
Don’t worry! There’s no need to cancel your summer road trip plans, but there is a need to take caution before and during your commute. We’ve mapped out a couple of key tips that you and your family can practice this summer, which will help eliminate the possibility of an accident.
Things to Do Before Your Road Trip
Before hitting the road, have your vehicle inspected. A mechanic will ensure your vehicle is safe enough for the road. This includes checking your oil, rotating tires or looking at their pressure level, fixing your cooling system, checking your fluid levels, inspecting your engine, and other key components to a healthy vehicle. You’ll also want to invest in an emergency roadside kit if you haven’t already.
If your group includes small children, make sure you have the proper seating for them, that includes ensuring seat belts are intact. Also, be sure to inform your children that if at any point they’re not feeling well to let you know. It’s not uncommon for children to experience feelings of fatigue from the heat or even stomach aches from foods that maybe didn’t sit well. In these cases, you may want to pull over.
Things to Do While on the Road
Once your vehicle is ready for the road and you make your way out, there are a couple of safety practices to keep in mind. For one, you should avoid distracted driving. Your phone calls and text messages can wait. Even if you have cruise control on and there aren’t any vehicles around you, there is always the possibility of an object appearing in the middle of the road out of nowhere! Keeping your eyes on the road is critical for avoiding an accident.
We see those highway signs all the time, “Share the Road” and “Look for Motorcycles” but how do you respond to them? It’s easy to feel like you and other drivers are somehow in competition and therefore want to cut them off; however, this type of aggressive driving is what tends to cause accidents. Sharing the road means practicing friendly driving habits even when the other driver is going 40 MPH on the fast lane. Politely pass the driver, don’t tailgate them. And if you come across motorcycles, always keep a safe distance.
Dealing With Road Rage
The heat causes people to be more irritable. As a driver, it’s critical to do your part in remaining healthy and focused while behind the wheel. There’s no doubt that from time to time you will experience a form of road rage, especially when it’s hot out and even blasting the AC to the max isn’t doing justice. The term “temper tantrum” can be used in a literal sense to describe what happens when you’re hot and acting out in defense of these raging emotions. Add traffic congestion to the mix, and suddenly your road rage is on a whole new level. To avoid feeling irritable from both the heat and traffic, do the following:
- Leave with plenty of time to arrive at your destination. Everyone wants to make the most of their time and spending it inside a car is definitely not what you had in mind. If you leave well before your anticipated arrival time, you won’t feel as rushed or eager.
- Take breaks or switch drivers when you’re feeling tired. Taking breaks can help alleviate the build-up of emotions. Walking off those feeling of anger at your next pit stop can help you feel more at ease when you get the behind the wheel.
- Stay hydrated. Don’t avoid drinking water just because you don’t want to stop to use the bathroom. It’s important to stay hydrated even while on the road. Plus, keeping a nice, cool beverage on hand can also make you feel more comfortable and alert.
- Pretend the other drivers are your grandma or grandpa. It’s easy to yell or cuss at complete strangers but what if the other driver was your grandma or grandpa? By pretending the other driver is your sweet grandma, you might be less likely to act out. It’s a mental game that many who deal with road rage try to implement.
If You’re in an Auto Accident This Summer, Contact the Enriquez Law Firm
Summers are supposed to be a time for relaxation and enjoying the company of a loved one. A serious auto accident can change that.
If you or someone you know is involved in a car accident, contact our law firm in El Paso right away. We’ll ensure any damages that resulted from your accident are adequately compensated. Do not delay protecting your health and finances; contact us today.