Road Trip: Safety Tips for Driving Alone

Whether you are taking a road trip to see the sights, heading to your favorite vacation destination or heading home for the holidays to see the family, safety is always the top priority.

The very first thing you should do before planning a road trip is take your car to the repair shop and have it checked over for any problems, the last thing you need is to be stranded alongside the road by yourself. Also make sure you have some type of emergency roadside assistance program.

Before you head out on your road trip make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Have a good healthy breakfast and be sure to dress in comfortable clothing. Be sure to pack some water, non-alcoholic beverages, protein bars, fruit, and snacks for the trip.

Check the forecast for the route you will be traveling, running into a nasty snowstorm or bad thunderstorms while traveling alone is a bit nerve wracking. If you will be using a GPS make sure it works and you have your destination already programmed before you leave your driveway.

While a GPS is a great tool to have often times, they can temporarily go on the fritz, so make sure you have a map and outline your route as a back-up. Also, make sure your cell phone is full charged and that you have a car charger. Also be sure to check the cell phone laws for states that you will be driving through.

Make sure you know which radio stations broadcast traffic and bad weather alerts and check them frequently. A detour or sitting in traffic could add several hours to your trip.

If you are bringing gifts or anything of value lock it in your glove compartment or trunk. Put your suitcase in the trunk (people don’t need to know you are traveling alone.) Toss your beverages and snacks on the front seat next to you for easy access. Keep your cell phone where you can reach it in case of any emergency.

Before you leave home call whomever you are going to visit or call a family member/friend and let them know you are leaving, so someone beside you, knows what time you left and what time you should arrive at your destination. It is also a good idea to give the person you are going to see or the family member/friend a copy of the route you are taking.

Okay, you are finally ready to leave your driveway. Gas tank full, you’re buckled up, GPS running, radio on favorite station or iPod plugged in, cell phone securely within reach, all doors locked. Off you go The first safety rule of the road is always follow the rules of the road. There is a very good chance speeding is not going to get you to your destination any faster than driving the speed limit or the proper speed for the road conditions. Chances are if you speed you will arrive a bit later than your anticipated time, because the police officer who pulled you over might feel like taking his/her time writing your ticket. Of course, if you drive poorly during bad weather it will take awhile for the tow truck to pull your car out of the ditch. You get what I’m saying.

Avoid distracted driving at all costs. If your cell phone keeps beeping text messages at you turn the volume off. If you start to get sleeping and it is still daylight, pull over in a rest area, get, and walk around for a little while. Maybe grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the scenery.

If it is nighttime, try to pull into a well lite busy rest area, walk around, stretch your legs, and give your eyes a break. If the rest area doesn’t work out and you pass a large grocery store or department store pull in and go inside the store and walk around, this is much safer especially for females traveling alone, than wandering around an abandoned rest area.

If you have start to get drowsy pull off the highway, never pull over on to the shoulder of the road unless you are having car trouble. If you need a nap find a safe place and snooze for 15 minutes ONLY any longer than 15 minutes will make you even groggier. 15 minutes is the perfect cat nap.

Avoid using cruise control, if you have to pay attention to your speed you’re more likely to be at a higher level of alertness. Crack the window if you’re feeling sleepy and let the cool or warm fresh air in, it will help wake you up.

The most important thing you can do before you take a road trip is take an online defensive driving or a refresher traffic school course. You may already be familiar with both courses they are commonly taken when drivers hope to get a discount on their car insurance, receive a traffic ticket and would like to have it dismissed and prevent points being added to your driver’s license.

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