Whether you’re taking to the open road or just heading across town, you can reduce your risk of being in a car accident. An important pre-trip task is to take the time to plan your route ahead of time. This may seem unnecessary—after all, whatever happened to spontaneity? Driving is serious, however, and planning your driving route before you head out can help you stay better focused on the important task at hand—driving.
As the Holidays Heat Up
The holidays are right around the corner, and with the holidays comes extra hustle and bustle, extra stress, extra traffic (including increased truck traffic—which makes the roads that much more dangerous), and lots and lots of driving. All of these factors can make for some hectic road trips. When, however, you take it upon yourself to plan your route (to avoid high traffic, rush hour, and road construction whenever possible) and allow yourself ample time, you reduce your risk of a car accident. In fact, you may even enjoy your drive.
As we all know, accidents happen. If you or someone you care about was injured in a car accident, you need an experienced Houston, Texas, personal injury lawyer. The legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is here to help.
Planning Your Route
Whether you like to use traditional road maps, MapQuest, mapping apps, or a GPS navigational system, take the time to consider your options and choose the route that works best for you. There may be more to consider than you realize.
- The weather
- Traffic and traffic patterns
- Expect the unexpected
- Maintain your vehicle
- Get the map out
- Get your shut-eye
- Observe the rules of the road
- Keep a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle
The weather can play an important role in choosing your travel route. If the weather report looks sketchy, allow yourself additional time to slow down for unsafe conditions. If the weather report alerts you to danger, consider changing your dates or your route (whenever possible) to bypass that danger. If you encounter sudden bad weather, cautiously adjust your speed and get off the road to safety as quickly as possible. Don’t mess with Mother Nature.
Always pay close attention to knowable traffic patterns. After all, you don’t want to hit Houston or any other city at the peak of rush hour when you could have planned around that obstacle. Planning your route before you head out can save you time and hassle—and help you avoid being in an accident.
Many GPS-enabled mobile apps allow you real-time access to traffic along your route. Check these out before you leave and when you make pit stops (but never while driving). If necessary, you can further refine your travel plans along the way by taking traffic indicators into account as they occur.
To drive safely, expect the unexpected. Whether it’s sudden traffic congestion, the onset of bad weather and dangerous driving conditions, an unexpected and unexplained detour, or an accident that takes place in front of you, the road can throw any number of obstacles your way.
Like all good scouts, drivers need to always be prepared. You can take several important steps to prepare for your next car trip and better protect yourself from a car accident.
Your first line of defense against danger on the road is a well-maintained vehicle. After all, your car is all that comes between you and the road. Stick to regularly scheduled car maintenance, and get your vehicle checked out before you head out on a major road trip. This is especially true for vehicles with lots of mileage.
This is where planning your route comes in. Take the time to plan ahead; it saves time in the long run and can help you stay safe. Also, keep an atlas or folding map in your vehicle. You never know when your smartphone or GPS is going to malfunction, and you just might need that old-fashioned map.
Before you heading out on a trip, rest. Drowsy driving is dangerous driving, and you don’t want to struggle to stay awake as you motor along. By getting a good night’s sleep the night before, you’ll help keep everyone on the road safer.
Once you get on the road, drive safely—it’s the best way to arrive alive. Make sure everyone in your car is buckled up. Follow all traffic signals and signs (including speed limits). Allow semi-trucks plenty of extra driving space, and stay out of their blind spots. Give aggressive and erratic drivers plenty of room, and let them pass on by. Drive in safe accordance with any adverse conditions, such as inclement weather or road construction. Keep your mind on the road, and don’t allow yourself to become distracted by your smartphone (or by anything else). Take regular breaks, and if you feel yourself becoming drowsy, switch drivers or pull off.
You never know what you’ll encounter on the road, and a roadside emergency kit can go a long way toward keeping you safe if you are ever in an accident or are forced to stop on the road. Several essentials can help you cope with such an emergency:
- A powerful flashlight
- Roadside warning cones, triangles, or flares
- Jumper cables
- Blankets and cold weather gear
- A well-stocked first aid kit
- Bottles of water
- Shelf-stable snacks
Everyone loves a road trip. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that yours will be safe.
Contact an Experienced Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys of Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, call today at (281) 664-6500 or send us an email through our online contact form. Remember—you pay us nothing up front when we take your case, and you pay us nothing unless and until we’ve won your recovery.