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Home > Blog > Auto Accident > Tips for Staying Safe on Your Summer Road Trip
by: NPHM | August 22, 2022

Tips for Staying Safe on Your Summer Road Trip

Road trips have remained one of the great American pastimes for decades, especially during the summer. There are so many great places that you can visit within a day’s drive of Ohio (and if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can make it all the way to the Pacific Ocean in just 36 hours if you’re departing from Cleveland).

And while better roads, better navigation, and better vehicles make modern road trips faster, easier, and more reliable than road trips of the past, they don’t always go off without a hitch. Experiencing vehicle trouble, emergencies, or car accidents on a road trip when you’re hundreds or even thousands of miles from home can ruin your summer vacation in a hurry.

Keep these tips in mind on your next road trip to avoid some of the most common cross-country pitfalls.

Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Ready

Today’s vehicles are more reliable than ever before, but they still require plenty of maintenance and repairs to keep running at their best. And when you’re on a long road trip, the last thing you want is car trouble.

Weeks before you head out, it’s important to check a few critical components so you’ll have plenty of time to make repairs:

  • Tires—Inspect all tires for signs of significant wear, damage, or even embedded nails. Replace any damaged tires before you head out. If your tires pass the eye test, check their air pressure and top off any tires with lower than recommended PSI.
  • Lights—Take a few minutes to check all of your lights—your headlights, high beams, fog lights, turn signals, taillights, brake lights, and emergency lights. If they’re burned out on one side, replace both, because the other side may be on its last legs, too.
  • Address any warning lights—Got a “Check Engine” or other light illuminated on your dash? Now’s the time to get it checked out and not when you’re 1,000 miles from home and driving on a desolate highway at midnight.

Appoint a “Phone User”

It’s bad enough to be distracted when you’re driving on your daily commute on familiar roads. But when you’re distracted while driving on unfamiliar highways and interstates, you’re even more likely to crash. To protect yourself and others, appoint someone else in your vehicle to be on “phone duty.”

They can read and send text messages for you, answer and make phone calls, change streaming radio stations and audiobooks, and pull up directions on the fly. If you need to personally use your phone while driving, pull over to a safe location first.

Be Mindful of Your Level of Alertness

Highway hypnosis is a term that refers to a state of sleepiness that occurs in drivers who are traveling on long stretches of monotonous road, which describes a large swath of the U.S. interstate system. Combine that with the fact that most American adults are sleep-deprived and you’ve got a potentially deadly recipe for nodding off behind the wheel.

Be sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before you head out on your road trip. If your destination is 12 hours or more away by car, considering breaking the trip up into two days rather than pushing through deep into the night. And if you feel sleepy while driving, pull over for the night or change drivers.

Don’t Change a Tire on the Side of the Road

If you experience a tire blowout or a flat tire while driving, resist the temptation to jack up your vehicle on the side of the road to replace it with your spare. Changing a tire on the side of the road is one of the most dangerous things you can do on the road.

When you’re out of your vehicle, you’re extremely vulnerable, and all it takes is a driver momentarily taking their eyes off the road to drift towards you to result in a serious or fatal injury. Instead, change your tire in a parking lot or, if one isn’t available (if you’re on an interstate, for example), call a tow truck instead. It may take longer, but it could save your life.

Buckle Up

Modern vehicles are loaded with safety features and technology to either reduce the risk of crashes or reduce their severity if they happen. But there’s a safety feature that still stands above all the rest when it comes to keeping drivers and passengers alive during crashes: the seat belt.

Anytime your vehicle is in motion, you should be buckled up. That applies to you and your passengers, especially children. Wearing a seat belt can be uncomfortable on a long road trip, but it’s essential that everyone in your vehicle stays buckled up while you’re on the road.

Call Us After a Crash

Whether you get injured while driving to the corner store or across the country, it’s important to have experienced legal representation on your side. Car accidents can be expensive, especially when you factor in medical bills, lost wages, and more.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we work hard to get our clients the money they’re owed. If you or someone you love is injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault, we want to discuss your claim with you. Contact our Ohio car accident lawyers today for a free consultation.

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