Highway accidents can happen at any time. Whether you are a professional driver or you have just got your license, you are always at risk of being injured on the highway. With the World Health Organization reporting that road traffic injuries are a leading cause of death for children and young adults, it’s important for drivers like you to do your part in keeping the highways safe for your passengers and everyone else. If you are planning for a long road trip this year, don’t leave home without learning a few key tips for steering clear of danger while you are behind the wheel.
1. Have your car checked
Apart from reckless driving, mechanical failure is also a leading cause of car collisions in the country. If you are going on a long road trip, take your car to a mechanic. The sooner you do, the sooner you identify mechanical issues that could worsen over time and affect your vehicle’s performance.
Start with the brakes and the engine. You may need to flush out the brake fluid if you have been driving your car for more than two years. Moreover, check if it’s time to give the engine an oil change. Ideally, you may need to do an oil change once every 5,000 miles or more.
Aside from these maintenance essentials, you should also check the windshield for cracks and clean out the air filters. Little details like these can make all the difference in reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.
2. Brush up on your defensive driving skills
You can’t always expect other motorists to follow the rules. Be prepared for reckless drivers who could endanger you and your passengers. One way you can deal with them is to review your defensive driving techniques.
Start by following the basic rules of keeping a three-second following distance from the vehicle in front of you. If the other driver suddenly stops, this will give you enough time to hit the brakes. You should also inform other drivers about where you are turning and avoid frequent lane changes. By brushing up on the most essential defensive driving techniques, you can increase your safety factor and avoid being a victim of reckless driving.
3. Know where your blindspots are
While operating a vehicle, your focus should be on the road. However, you also need to check the areas where you might not get a good view of incoming vehicles or pedestrians. Even with mirrors, you might not be prepared enough to react to certain hazards such as a speeding vehicle or local wildlife such as deer, coyotes, and other animals.
You only need to align your side and rearview mirrors so you will get a good view of your surroundings. Still, you will need to be extra cautious while driving, so you should be aware of the vehicles that are beside, in front, and behind yours. If you have room in your budget, consider investing in a rearview camera. This will give you a clearer and wider view of what’s happening behind your vehicle.
4. Check if you are fit to drive
In some cases, road collisions happen because drivers aren’t in their best condition. Operating a vehicle requires all your attention, so it’s important to avoid getting distracted while at the wheel. Turn the radio’s volume down and clear the dashboard of unnecessary decorations that could hamper your view of the road.
In addition, check if you are physically and mentally fit to drive. Aside from avoiding alcohol before your trip, you should also avoid driving without sleep or with an empty stomach. Otherwise, you have a better chance of committing fatal errors.
5. Be careful around trucks
Thousands of trucks travel along the country’s major thoroughfares. While many commercial drivers are trained to handle these large vehicles, you can’t always expect to be safe near them. When you are driving in front of or behind commercial trucks, give yourself enough space between yourself and these vehicles. Trucks also have larger blind spots, so you might as well avoid them, especially their right hand side which gives the drivers a limited vantage point.
If you find yourself in an unavoidable accident with a truck, you might as well demand compensation for any injuries and property damage you have sustained. In this case, you will need a truck accident lawyer to help you recover from your ordeal.
When driving on the highway, you should know the dangers that lie ahead and around you. By keeping these tips in mind, you can prevent a road trip from becoming a nightmare.