Having fun on the road with traveling companions in tow is one of the biggest perks of taking a road trip. But, any time you get behind the wheel, safety should always trump fun.
Too many drivers, however, get caught up in the fun of the road trip and drive above the speed limit or while distracted or impaired. These unsafe driving behaviors are the most common causes for road trip accidents and are completely avoidable.
Although you are not in control of every risk on the road, there are 3 things you can do to increase your chance of staying out of harm’s way:
1. Pay Attention
According to Transport Canada, at any given time, 1 in 20 Canadian drivers is using a cell phone while driving. That one statistic alone is enough to increase your risk of getting into an accident on your road trip. But, when you add in the drivers who are putting on makeup, changing the radio station on their car stereo, picking up something that dropped on the car floor, or having a lively discussion with other people in their vehicle, you get a more accurate picture of how distracted drivers on the road actually are.
While you can’t make other drivers pay attention to the road, you can eliminate those same distractions in your vehicle while driving. You can also stay alert so you can respond quickly if you are driving near a distracted driver.
2. Stay Sober
Impaired driving doesn’t just mean under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We all know how unsafe it is to drive while intoxicated or high. But driving, sleepy is just as dangerous. No matter how excited you are to get to your road trip destination, never drive when you are sleepy. It only takes a few seconds for you to doze off and lose control of the vehicle. Getting there faster is not worth risking a car accident. The same goes for over-the-counter and prescription medications that cause drowsiness or impact your alertness. Let someone else do the driving or wait until you are sober, well-rested, and clear.
3. Don’t Speed
Speed is a contributing factor in 30 percent of fatal auto accidents and in 12 percent of all accidents according to the Canada Safety Council. Excessive speed isn’t always about driving over the speed limit. Depending on the road conditions, you could be below the speed limit and still drive too fast. For example, in a thunderstorm, if your visibility is low, it may not be safe to continue at the posted speed limit. The important thing is to drive at a safe speed at all times.
Remember, safe driving habits aren’t just good for your health, they are also great for your wallet. Many insurers offer safe driver discounts as a reward for accident-free driving. Check your policy or talk to your insurance broker to see if you qualify for this discount.