Knowing what you’re up against and what to be aware of, and combining that knowledge with increased vigilance on the road will help protect you and your loved ones. Here are 25 important driving facts geared to keep you safe.
Driving long distances this holiday season? You won’t be alone on the road. Even though COVID-19 remains a reality, it’s predicted that many will take to the highways this winter for long overdue visits to family and friends.
Here’s how you can stay safe on the road during those long drives.
Plan your route
Scope out planned road closures and construction zones ahead of time. This information will allow you to map out the safest, most efficient route to your destination. You should also consider plotting out your stops for food and fuel, so you can avoid unnecessary stops and limit exposure to those outside your immediate circle — an important way to stay healthy during COVID-19.
Make a strategy for staying awake
When you’re behind the wheel for long stretches of road, and especially if you’re not driving during daylight hours, it’s inevitable that fatigue will set in. Just as you plan your route ahead of time, make a plan for staying awake.
This plan could include things such as:
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before you leave.
- Have healthy food and snacks on hand to keep you alert, but avoid heavy food (which can contribute to feelings of fatigue and discomfort).
- Stay hydrated to help you stay alert.
- Take advantage of rest stops to get out and stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
- Share the drive with other licensed drivers who may be traveling with you.
Research the weather
Not only should you wear comfortable clothes and shoes for a relaxing and enjoyable drive, you should also be prepared with necessary layers if during your drive you could be exposed to chilly temperatures. In case you suffer a car breakdown in the middle of a snowstorm or cold location, you’ll be glad you have a jacket, warm boots and gloves handy, even if those aren’t items you needed when you departed home.
In addition to proper clothing, have the right supplies and tools in your vehicle for extreme weather conditions:
- Ice scraper with snow brush
- Rock salt or sand for icy surface
- Extra washer fluid with antifreeze components
- Rope or tow chain
Know the driving and traffic laws in your destination
In Arizona, it’s perfectly legal to make a U-turn unless otherwise marked. However, in other states, U-turns are illegal unless there are signs indicating it’s ok. Same goes for turning right at a red light.
While you can’t be expected to commit to memory all the traffic laws of your destination, a quick Google search in advance of your trip could provide you with key information you need to avoid getting pulled over or receiving a costly citation. If your trip will take you through multiple states on the way to your ultimate destination, it’s also recommended that you look up the laws in those areas through which you’ll be driving.
Steer clear of RVs
The RV and camping boom of earlier this year is expected to continue into the winter holidays. Many drivers responsible for the increasing number of recreational vehicles on the road may not have abundant experience commanding larger rigs — they’re renting from sites like RVShare.com. Anytime you’re driving, it’s good to keep those defensive driving skills sharp, and especially around larger vehicles, whose drivers may not see you. Give RVs and semis ample room on the road.
Be COVID-19 safe
By now, you know the drill: Maintain social distance and mask up when getting out of your car. Opt for outdoor dining, if possible. Wash hands frequently and have hand sanitizer or wipes at the ready when hand washing isn’t available.
Yes, it’s the holidays, but the coronavirus doesn’t know that. Stay vigilant and stay healthy.
Need more tips for improving your driving and staying safe on the road, during the holidays and beyond? Stop and Go Driving School is your ultimate driving know-how resource. Learn more about the courses we offer today.