Taking a summer road trip is an American classic experience. While accidents are an inevitable part of vehicular travel, taking simple precautions and being alert at the wheel go a long way in making your family road trip a safe one. We sat down with personal injury attorney Craig Swapp to find out his best bets for staying safe.
One frightening statistic shows that here in Utah the number of fatalities on our roads nearly double between Memorial Day & Labor Day, which is commonly referred to as the '100 Deadly Days of Summer.' There are a lot of factors that go into that, including the increased number of vehicles on the roads and the long stretches those vehicles are being driven. That leads to more exhausted and easily distracted drivers which leads to more accidents.
It's essential to be physically and mentally prepared before taking the road trip and vigilant while driving. Make sure to get a good night`s rest before driving long stretches, and be willing to take frequent breaks. Experts suggest a 15-minute break for every 2 hours of driving. Don`t hesitate to pull over to take a nap or switch drivers if you feel at all sleepy or exhausted.
Distractions seem to increase the longer a driver is on the road. We all know kids can get increasingly restless and noisy on long drives and it`s important to not let distractions in the backseat or on the cell phone to pull your attention off the road. It`s easy to get more and more complacent as the miles roll on. Consider putting cell phones on silent mode and out of sight. Don`t be afraid to safely pull over and let the kids stretch their legs if they start becoming a distraction.
We all know just about anything can happen out on the roads, especially on a long trip. Cars can break down. In Utah and the surrounding states, there are long stretches of rural roads where cell phone coverage may be non-existent. Drivers need to be prepared to take care of themselves and their families in these situations, especially those driving older vehicles. The American Automobile Association (AAA) warns that vehicles 10 years and older are twice as likely to end up stranded on the side of the road.
Craig offers these safety tips:
1. Be sure to take the family vehicle in to an auto shop for a thorough maintenance check before the journey. Make sure tires, oil levels, vehicle lights, and brakes are in good condition.
2. Have a good emergency kit in your vehicle. The DMV suggests a first aid kit, flashlight, multipurpose tool, jumper cables, road flares and bottled water as the bare basics. It`s also a good idea to include non-perishable foods and battery chargers.
3. Review basic car repairs before leaving. The ability to safely change a flat tire can make a huge difference.
4. Let someone you trust know about your travel plans with specific departure and arrival times. If possible, give them updates as you arrive at different points on your trip. This could prove an invaluable help to rescue crews if worse comes to worse and you become stranded.
Find out more by visiting Craig Swapp and Associates online or calling them at 1-800-404-9000.