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What You Can Do to Avoid a Car Accident on Your Next Road Trip

Adopt these safety habits to decrease your chances of being involved in an automobile accident on your next road trip.

If you frequently travel, you may not think about road safety as much as you should. The truth is that you take a risk every time you drive, and when you do so for lengthy periods, there are even more potential dangers. The best way to avoid an accident is by adopting the following safety habits. If you adhere to them fully and still end up in a crash, call an experienced St. Louis auto accident lawyer to learn about your legal rights.

car accident on road trip

Check Your Car Before Leaving

If you have a long car ride ahead, you likely have some preparations to make before leaving. Part of that routine should be checking the critical aspects of vehicle maintenance, which are tire pressure, tire wear, and brakes. While experienced people can do these checks themselves, most of us need to see a mechanic. Once you confirm that your car is in good shape, you can set off on your journey confidently.

Switch Drivers

Though many long drives are navigated alone, a significant portion is done with others. This is often the case for road trips in which family or friends take on the journey together. In these situations, do not let one person drive the entire time. This will cause fatigue in that driver and put everyone in danger. Instead, switch off and keep a fresh set of eyes behind the wheel at all times.

Know When to Use Cruise Control

One of your best tools for making a long drive comfortable is cruise control. You can set it to a certain speed, take your foot off the pedals, and get some reprieve. Unfortunately, cruise control is not appropriate at all times. When you are in heavy traffic or inclement weather, using this function will lower your reaction time and put you at risk. Your best bet is to only use it when weather conditions are optimal, and there are few cars on the road.

Keep Your Seatbelt On

At some point in your long drive, you may feel the urge to take your seat belt off. This is a mistake. No matter how uncomfortable you feel with it on, you need to keep wearing it. If you do not, a relatively harmless accident could result in a severe injury.

Be Honest About Your Fatigue

On long drives, and especially ones that go through the night, your chances of becoming fatigued are high. When you do, you cannot try to “tough it out” and keep driving. Instead, switch drivers or stop at an area where you can rest. Even if this means staying at a hotel, you should do it. The cost of a room is much less than getting injured in a car accident.

Safe Driving In Unfamiliar Areas

If you’re like most people, you may feel a little anxious driving in an unfamiliar area. After all, you don’t know the layout of the roads or where all the potential hazards are. However, there’s no need to let anxiety get the better of you. With a little planning and preparation, you can confidently navigate even the most unfamiliar territory. Here are some tips to help you out:

Do Your Homework

Before setting out, do your homework and familiarize yourself with the area you will be driving in. This means researching the route you will be taking. Check for closures, construction, detours, and other potential hazards. Also, take some time to familiarize yourself with the layout of the roads and intersections. 

In addition to familiarizing yourself with the route, it’s also important to ensure you’re familiar with the local traffic laws. This includes knowing the speed limit and any other regulations that may be specific to the area. If you are unsure about any of the local traffic laws, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and follow the posted speed limit. Taking these precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip when driving in unfamiliar territory.

Plan Your Route

Once you have a good understanding of the area, it’s time to start planning your route. Use a GPS or map app to determine the most efficient route to your destination. Also, it’s generally best to avoid back roads and stick to major highways. This will help you stay on familiar terrain and avoid getting lost. If you need to take a back road, drive slowly and watch for any potential hazards. Also, remember to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so you can relax and enjoy the drive.

Pay Attention to Traffic Signs and Be Patient

When driving in an unfamiliar area, it’s important to pay attention to traffic signs and be patient. This means being aware of the posted speed limits and obeying all traffic laws. It also means being cautious when approaching intersections, yield signs, and areas where pedestrians are present. 

Make Your Intentions Clear

This is an important point. Always make your intentions clear when driving in unfamiliar places. Use your turn signal to let other drivers know what you’re doing, and don’t make any sudden lane changes. If you need to pull over to get your bearings, do so in a safe and well-lit area. And always yield to pedestrians, even if they don’t seem to be following the rules of the road. 

It’s always important to drive defensively, especially in an unfamiliar area. You never know what you might encounter on the road, so it’s best to be prepared. The above tips can help you stay safe when driving in unfamiliar territory.

St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

Long drives can be dangerous. By following the tips on this list and adhering to general driving safety guidelines, you will make yourself and everyone around you that much safer.

If, despite your best efforts to drive safe, you end up in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. for free legal advice 24/7.

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Updated: September 14, 2022