Spring break always seems to come at the perfect time. Once the middle of the semester rolls around, it seems like everybody’s tired, stressed out, and ready for a break. A road trip is a perfect way to get your mind off of school and work and just go relax. That being said, there’s also a lot that can go wrong on a road trip. Here are some easy precautions to take in order to ensure that your spring break road trip is a safe, fun experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Carefully Consider Whose Car to Take
If you’re heading out on a trip with friends, the first question you ask after you figure out where you’re going will probably be “Whose car are we taking?”. It’s a good idea to take whoever’s car is in the best shape. If one of your friends has recently been in an accident, it’s probably not the best idea to take their car on a big trip. Consider gas mileage, reliability, and storage space when deciding whose car to take.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Always be prepared before heading out on a big trip. Pack an emergency kit for your car in case you end up stranded somewhere. You should include a blanket, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, bottled water, a few non-perishable food items such as protein bars, and a portable charger and phone cord. Make sure you have a spare tire and a jack as well. A paper map may not seem necessary because of GPS functions on smartphones, but it’s handy to have one with you just in case you go through a dead spot while you’re on the road.
Inspect the Car Before You Go
It’s always a good idea to check your car out and make sure there aren’t any problems waiting to happen before you take off on your adventure. You may want to take the car to a mechanic and have them look at it if you don’t know much about cars. Make sure you have plenty of windshield wiper fluid (bring along some extra just in case), check your tires, and inspect your brakes. It’s also a good idea to get an oil change before you go, and if you haven’t replaced your windshield wiper blades in a while, you may want to do that too.
Ensure That You’re Insured
Check your insurance coverage before you go. Make sure you understand what kind of coverage you have (liability, personal injury, etc). Will your insurance cover your passengers, too, or just you? It may be wise to call your insurance agent before leaving, just so you don’t get any surprises in the event that you’re in an accident. Make sure you have a copy of your registration, proof of insurance, and of course, your drivers’ license.
Take Turns Driving
If you’re going on your trip with friends, it’s a good idea to switch drivers every few hours. Driving tired is a dangerous thing to do. Every two hours or so, pull off the road and switch drivers so that everybody can get some rest. If you’re on the road trip by yourself or with someone who can’t drive, take frequent breaks. Pulling off at a service plaza for a snack or even a quick snooze every now and then can help you stay focused and alert.
Avoid Driving in the Dark
Depending on how far away your destination is, it may be tempting to just do the whole trip at once, driving through the night to get there, but driving at night poses a lot of risks. It’s easier to fall asleep while driving at night, not to mention that if you’re tired and driving in the dark, your reaction times won’t be as quick as they would be in the daylight. You could end up in an accident or you could miss your exit and become lost. If possible, find a motel or other place to stay after dark, get a full night’s rest, and get back out on the road in the morning when you’re rested and refreshed. If you aren’t able to take a break overnight, then be sure to switch drivers or take breaks frequently, and be extra careful. If you feel yourself getting drowsy, pull over and rest!
Always Drive Sober
For many college students, spring break means having a drink or two. Always have a designated driver, and never get into a car with anyone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you plan on going to a party or club, it’s a good idea to use a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft to get there and back.
Always Drive Focused
It’s often tempting, especially when you’re with your friends, to drive distracted. Taking your eyes off the road to answer just one text, or to mess with the air conditioning or even just to eat a snack, may not seem like a huge deal. However, for every five seconds your eyes are off the road, you’ve traveled approximately the length of a football field! If your car is equipped with hands-free controls, use those to pull up directions or answer calls if you need to. If your car does not have hands-free controls, have a friend in the passenger seat operate your phone for you while you keep your eyes on the road.
Have You Been in a Car Accident?
If you’re involved in a car accident on your road trip, contact Steuer, Escovar & Coleman Co. LPA in Cleveland, OH at (216)-771-8121. Our attorneys are always here to help!