Families, couples, and singles all love to take in the great weather happening across the country and schedule a road trip. According to AAA, more than 100 million Americans have plans for summer travel this year. That same study shows that 70% of travelers are planning beach destinations this travel season!
But summer is also one of the times most frequently associated with preventable vehicle accidents. You might want to budget in some extra time for that road trip in case of traffic or congestion on your way to your vacation destination.
So what else can you do to prepare and decrease your chances of ending up a victim in a crash?
Prepare Yourself for Your Summer Road Trip
California residents often visit nearby states and are easily able to get there in several hours, but this means there is a lot of traffic going to and from popular destinations, especially on weekends. Plus, the rise in the popularity of Airbnb and glamping have more people turning to their cars rather than airplanes to take vacations within a short driving distance.
Lower gas prices, and the availability of entertainment options right inside your car, also make the decision to take a summer road trip easier than ever. According to recent expert insight shared on roadtrippers.com, this summer will be full of shorter but more frequent trips. Scheduling long weekends is very popular with people who have jobs or childcare concerns, so expect extra traffic on the roads from Thursday-Sunday.
More cars on the roads leads to more traffic congestion and the possibility of aggressive driving from frustrated weekenders trying to get to, or return to, their destination. More passenger vehicles on the road, plus big rigs making their usual routes, means you must be prepared to cope with crowded roadways.
In addition to beaches and mountains, destinations can also include tracking down special places or finding landmarks that help you connect to your loved ones. Sometimes, the search for that spot can be a challenge, making it all too easy to get lost or distracted behind the wheel, and increasing your chances for a wreck.
While road trips are a great way to get to your desired summer destination, once you’re there other options such as a bus, a bike, a scooter, a trolley car, or even a double-decker bus can make it easier to explore the local sights, or the big city.
More Bikes, Motorcycles and Scooters, More Accidents
The availability of smaller, more personalized vehicles has made it easier to get to nearby venues once you’re at your destination. In fact, bikes are becoming a more popular mode of transportation overall. As the weather warms, and the kids get out of school, more people will be hopping on their bikes as a top summer activity, and local mode of transportation. It’s important to be mindful of the fact that bikes are not easily spotted.
Accidents with bikes can happen even backing out of your own driveway, especially if you live in a neighborhood with plenty of children soaking up the sun during their summer off. Bikes can also be left on the ground out of view, meaning that they can get run over and cause property damage.
In addition to more bicycles, the sunny California weather also attracts more motorcyclists from other areas so expect more motorcycles on the road as well. If those bikers aren’t familiar with the rules of the road, or haven’t properly maintained their motorcycle, accidents can occur.
The latest addition to personalized transportation are scooters, which are now widely available as public rentals. Much like motorcycles, now is the perfect time for people to use scooters to get around.
With all these smaller vehicles in high user during the summer months, this is a call for all drivers to pay greater attention.
One of the easiest ways to avoid accidents is to keep your line of sight clear of obstructions, such as coolers, bags or other packed items. Rolling down your windows before making a turn, backing out of a parking lot, or leaving your driveway can also be an easy way to catch audio cues, like a barking dog or a playing child near your vehicle. An open window can also increase your ability to see others, helping you avoid getting into an accident with a person or hazard you might not have spotted otherwise.
Avoiding Accidents on the Roads This Summer: Your Guide
You can’t account for everyone on the road, but there are steps you can take to protect everyone inside your vehicle as much as possible. Here are some ways to make sure you’re set to hit the open road for planned travel or on a whim for a fun weekend away:
- Get maintenance done on your vehicle that you might have put off. If your mechanic has been warning you about your tires or brakes, now is the perfect time for a tune-up.
- Check child car seats: A car seat is only as good as its fit. If your kids have grown a lot, make sure you have the right car seat and that it’s been installed safely. Most local fire departments will help you install a new car seat if you want peace of mind that your kids are strapped in safely.
- Plan breaks: Leave some extra time in your schedule for busy traffic or other unexpected delays, and make sure you’ve charted time to take breaks from driving, too. Every few hours, stop and stretch your legs or a get a cup of coffee.
- Technology is making roadtripping easier than ever, and when gas prices are low, this makes the temptation for a roadtrip nearly impossible to ignore! This means, however, that the potential for distracted driving is even bigger. Listening to podcasts, using infotainment systems, or trying to find something to keep you interested during a road trip means that your focus could be pulled from the road. More passengers and fun conversations in the car can also contribute to driver distraction, too.
- Split the trip: Don’t try to cram in a 9-hour road trip in one day if you can afford it. Split the driving with a friend or family member so you don’t get tired or distracted.
- If you are involved in an accident, keep the contact information for your California personal injury attorney on hand to help with the next steps of the accident.
- If you have out-of-state plans, have an updated insurance card on hand so you can reach your carrier.
Where are you headed this summer? Are you one of the many Americans planning a long weekend away or a full week off? Stay safe out there! Be aware that you should always keep safety top of mind on all of these! No matter how you choose to travel this summer, you can stay safe and have a blast at the same time.