Things to follow to avoid trouble during a road trip

June 20, 2012 marked the official first day of summer, and it’s time to start preparing for road trip safety. Phillips Law Firm has a few tips for staying safe and avoiding accidents, protecting you and your family on the roads this summer.

Wear a seat belt:

70% of fatal crash victims were found to not be wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision. Always buckle up and make sure that your children do not unbuckle for any reason.

Get an auto checkup before your trip:

Make sure that your vehicle is in pristine shape before you begin a road trip. Leave yourself enough time between the inspection date and your road trip to get any mechanical work done ahead of time. Often mechanical problems cannot be fixed “same day”. Poor tire pressure is leading cause for automobile crashes related to maintenance problems.

Download mobile applications for your children:

When your children become fussy and irritable after sitting for a prolonged period of time, a mobile app might be the cure to the fuss. If you allow your children to use your phone you may want to consider downloading family rated apps. If you have more than one child, have them take turns and coach one another. They will become less of a distraction for you and in turn will learn time management. Driving distractions increase your risk of accident involvement by 20%.

Do not text or fidget with your GPS while driving:

Just as texting and driving do not mix, you should never fidget with your GPS while driving. Instead, pull over to a gas station, fuel up, stretch your legs and search for driving directions while your vehicle is off. Taking your eyes off the road to tinker with gadgets can only lead to potentially fatal accidents. Another solution is to have another adult in the vehicle search for the GPS destination on your behalf. Texting while driving contributes to 1,600,000 accidents annually, approximately 25% of all automobile collisions.

Pack no-mess foods:

To avoid dripping sauce or other messy foods in your vehicle, pack foods that will not cause a mess. Pretzels, carrot sticks, crackers or nuts are great examples of foods that will drip or require extreme caution when eating on the go. When you or your children spill, it is all too easy for your eyes to shift from the road to the mess. Driving and eating at the same time is not currently illegal by law but you may be ticketed for distracted driving.

Beware the dangers of late-night driving:

Leaving in the middle of the night to avoid rush-hour traffic is only beneficial if you are awake and alert. If you are pushing to keep your eyelids open, it is best to leave at a more reasonable hour. If you leave late at night be sure to be cautious of other sleepy drivers and on the lookout for drunk drivers. If you see a sleepy or drunk driver on the road, call 911 and report them to local police authorities.

Use flameless flares:

A flameless road flare will alert other drivers of your idle vehicle without the risk of burn from a traditional flare. LED flares have become a safer alternative to the traditional flare. You can find flameless road flare products at Turn your hazards on and raise your hood to alert other drivers of your situation.

Don’t Speed:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains the consequences of fast driving quite simply: “Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2008, speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, and 11,674 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes”.

Practice Defensive Driving:

Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, avoid abrupt lane changes and never flash your headlights out of frustration. We hope these tips help you manage your next road trip more safely and effectively.