10 Driving Tips To Keep You Safe on the Road This Summer
For most of us, driving is a part of everyday life. It’s easy to take this activity for granted, but ultimately, driving is a privilege that should be respected. No matter how good at driving we think we are, everyone can stand to be just a little safer. So before heading out on your next trip, take our ten driving tips to keep you safe on the road this summer along for the ride.
Plan the Best Route
Long gone are the days of studying map books and plotting out routes. With such amazing technology at our fingertips, many people have gotten used to trusting the computer. However, it’s a very bad habit to get into. First, by listening to where the travel app instructs you to go, there’s little chance you’ll remember the road.
Next, don’t simply assume the program knows the best route. Often, apps generically pick commonly traveled roads or ones most populated by ad-purchasing businesses. Instead, look closer at the potential roads and cross-reference them with street-view maps to prepare yourself. Lastly, don’t be afraid to deviate. While the app may be very vocal about its disapproval, you’ll likely end up traveling much quieter roads.
Leave Ahead of Schedule
One of the best things that almost no one does is leave with plenty of time. It’s either tough to get up that early or imagine sitting at your destination ahead of schedule. However, while these are valid inconveniences, they pale in comparison to the anxiety that being late will cause. It’s impossible to predict what lies on the road ahead.
Even with unique new technology, the accuracy of traffic flow is only so reliable. The best way to ensure that you arrive on time is to give yourself a buffer. Leaving 10 minutes early will help you recover from most missed turns or small traffic backups. Adding even more extra time is ideal when heading out during busy times of the day, using a road that often gets backed up, or traveling somewhere new.
Control Potential Distractions
The most significant hazards on the road often come from within our vehicles. Before setting out, it’s crucial to identify and deal with any potential issues. First, secure any stored items. Place drinks soundly within holders and make sure nothing in the meridian or passenger side will come loose.
Check that floor covers are in the right positions and will not impede pressing pedals. Consider keeping the radio low or off entirely. Avoid audiobooks and other audio that may preoccupy your thoughts or distract you from the road or identifying signage.
Check Fluids Before Leaving
Another task that many of us fail to do is ensuring the vehicle is ready to drive before heading out. Often, we’re in such a rush to be on our way that it’s a struggle to make sure there’s even time to fill up the gas tank. Safety and health are more important than saving a few minutes. What’s more, you won’t be saving any time at all if the car breaks down due to an issue that you could have avoided.
Be sure to check the oil monthly, especially with older cars that may have other issues. It’s a good idea to check the other fluids, such as coolants, regularly as well. Lastly, top off the water in your vehicle to avoid getting stranded because of an overheating engine.
Keep Up With Maintenance
Along the same lines of checking the fluids is managing maintenance efficiently. A car is like any other machine and needs proper care to keep running at peak performance. While few commuters are looking to optimize their vehicle’s performance, a little attention goes a long way. In particular, the tires bear the brunt of our traveling.
It’s essential to use tires with the right treads for the driving you will be doing. What’s more, it’s essential to replace worn tires to ensure proper traction. We offer an array of upkeep services that will keep your vehicles running smoothly, from tire replacement to tire alignment in Nampa and throughout Idaho.
Take Care of Physical Demands
Of the ten driving tips to keep you safe on the road this summer, few are as essential as taking good care of yourself. Driving while feeling tired or unwell puts you at a much greater risk for accidents. Be sure to eat well and get plenty of rest. Plan where you can stop and take a break if needed. As simple as it sounds, having a few locations marked for bathroom and snack breaks will take a lot of stress out of the journey.
Pack Emergency Essentials
As with your home and workplace, any location that you occupy for an extent of time deserves a first aid kit. Automotive retailers even manufacture vehicle-specific kits to help handle the hazards of the road. Besides the essential medical supplies, they usually include other exciting items. Many have small jacks, tire patching equipment, windup flashlights, flares, and other items to assist in remote and roadside emergencies. What’s more, they’re small and inexpensive. Lastly, every vehicle should have an automobile fire extinguisher.
Take Breaks on Longer Drives
Along the same lines as taking care of yourself is taking breaks while on the road. As noted, planning multiple safe spots to take a break will ensure that you are comfortable and can concentrate throughout the drive. If sickness or exhaustion ever begins to creep over you while driving, don’t hesitate to get off the road and stop for a while until you feel better.
Practice Defensive Driving
We’ve heard it all before, but it’s worth repeating. First, remind yourself to check your mirrors regularly. It’s essential to actively turn and look for potential hazards in blind spots, too, and not just accept that the mirrors always accurately depict an open road. While they may seem like annoying details, these two actions alone will prevent many collisions.
Besides this, always stay in the correct lane and mind the traffic flow between fast, slow, middle, and turning lanes. Pay close attention to road signage and markings. Stay within the marked lines, crossing them only if they are dashed and you signal correctly. Lastly, adhere to the speed limit and avoid falling into the trap of following other vehicles.
Manage Your Stress
Driving is stressful in a lot of ways other activities aren’t. The two most common ways driving unnerves people are dealing with unknowable strangers on or around the roads and traveling into unknown places. The former naturally is part of commuting, but it still gives many white knuckles by the end of the drive.
It’s important to be aware of what’s going on, but trust that those around you are also doing their best to stay safe. Whenever possible, it’s good to stick to familiar routes to avoid the stress of making mistakes or becoming lost. If it’s necessary to travel to an unknown area, give yourself a significant amount of extra time.