Long drives in South Florida bring with them extra hazards. Whether you’re driving in Hollywood, Homestead, Miami, across the state, or across the country, the longer you drive the more at risk you are of mechanical breakdowns, fatigue, distractions, and other dangers.
Long drives are a part of life. You may take long trips for college, to see friends and family, to head on vacation, as part of a move, or for any number of reasons. When you hit the road, these tips can keep you safer behind the wheel:
- Plan your trip. Work methodically, planning your trip ahead. What routes will you take? What will the traffic be like? Where will you stop for breaks? What weather and road conditions will you encounter? Check weather forecasts, road work schedules, and hotel and restaurant schedules so you don’t get stuck and make detours and alternate routes, just in case. Where possible, avoid driving through areas with very heavy traffic or road work, as this will add time, frustration, and risk to your route.
- Give yourself more time than you think you need. Trying to get someone on a tight schedule is stressful and can tempt you to take shortcuts on safety. Make sure you schedule in enough breathing room so you can rest when you need it and can handle anything unexpected on the way.
- Check in. Have someone you can check in with every day or every few days if you are going on a long trip. This way, if you don’t show up at a check-in, this person will know to call for help.
- Get your car ready. Get your car serviced before your trip and check for any recalls which may affect your vehicle. Make sure that the oil is changes, fluids are topped up, tires are inflated and rotated, and battery life is checked.
- Pack carefully. Make sure you take everything you need—make a list to avoid forgetting important items. Pack an emergency kit, too, with a cell phone, flashlight, basic tools, first aid kit, flares, jumper cables, and other emergency items. Try to keep everything in the trunk, so if you are in a collision, these items do not become airborne. When packing, make sure no items obscure your view out the windows or with the mirrors.
- Keep your passengers happy. If you have adults in the car who can share in the driving, seat them up front so they can help with directions and road signs. Children and pets are safest in the back. Place children in age-appropriate safety seats and pets in secure kennels. For children, provide enough entertainment and snacks to ensure they don’t cause distractions.
- Every two hours, take a short break. Get everyone (including pets) out of the car for a stretch and restroom break to help keep everyone from getting cramped and to keep you alert.
If, despite your efforts, you are in a collision caused by someone else’s negligent, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation with a Homestead car accident attorney.