When it comes to being with our loved ones, distance is no barrier. It is estimated that long distance travel increases by approximately 23% during the holidays, and we all love to continue socialising throughout summer. Fatigue and exhaustion follows easily due to excess traveling which may lead to road accidents.
When considering the safety of your family, here is a list of useful tips to keep in mind when planning your next trip.
- Pre travel vehicle service
It pays to keep your car serviced regularly. If it has been a while since you last got your car serviced, ensure it is functioning well, and adheres to all safety standards through a quick inspection. The inspection will check all the following aspects of your vehicle; the oil, filter, radiator water, lights, windscreen wipers, transmission fluid, and windscreen washer reservoir.
A quick check of the tyre pressure and wheel alignment aids in a smooth and safer drive. Once all of this is done, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the drive.
- Planning for contingencies: Emergency travel kit
Prepare a travel kit with the following items for emergencies: jumper cables, a flashlight, map, first aid kit, Swiss knife, food like energy bars and nuts, a blanket, a satellite phone, a list of emergency numbers/services to call like Roadside Assistance, and an emergency tyre inflation kit. Do some initial research on hospitals, car repair garages and other services on your route. You can never be too prepared for any contingent situation.
- Plan your route well:
Plan the itinerary for the travel and the route perfectly. Plan the number of hours to travel each day based on the distance to be travelled and time available. The holiday season also brings with it a lot of parties and alcohol. Fatigue and alcohol are two factors that lead to the most number of road accidents.
Driving under the influence of alcohol causes road accidents. Designate a sober driver or catch a taxi home if you are planning to drink. The highest incidence of alcohol related road accidents happen between midnight and 3 a.m., if possible, try to stay off the road between those hours.
The excitement to reach our destination early and enjoy the holiday motivates us to drive continuously, but it fails to keep us awake and alert behind the wheel. After attending parties, spending time on the beach and driving for a long time, you may feel tired. Take regular breaks at designated resting spots and manage your exhaustion well.
A power nap of 15 minutes may reduce the risk of road accidents due to drowsiness. Avoid driving during the times when you usually sleep to avoid drowsiness . Share the driving load if possible.
- Keep your kids safe
Owing to an increase in road traffic during the holidays, a large proportion of road accidents that occur involve higher proportions of passengers that include females, and children below the age of 15 years. Keeping children secure in the back seat of the car during travel is the safest option. Data shows that child safety seats reduce the risk of death in car crashes by 71% for infants, and 54% for toddlers between the ages of 1 and 4.
It is important to keep the young passengers occupied. A co-passenger should be in charge of entertainment. Plan and bring music, movies and games to entertain the children.
- Control stress
All the holiday activities often result in a lot of stress that can manifest itself on the roads. Stress can lead to excessive speeding, which can result in an increase in the possibility of road accidents. Drive slowly and take regular breaks to manage stress. Even if it takes a little longer, stay relaxed and complete your journey calmly.
There are few things that are as exciting as a road trip. Following the above checklist ensures that you are prepared for the unexpected, are safe and have a smooth drive. Your car and travel should be the least of your worries, giving you more time to spend with the people you love.
Enjoy your trip! Bon Voyage!