Man behind the wheel of a car

By: Jamie Ridenhour, National Training and Compliance Manager

Spring Break is the perfect opportunity to hit the open road with temperatures beginning to rise! Getting out on the road can be less stressful and more enjoyable than flying, especially with the scenery and attractions along the way. However, some preparation and road safety tips can help ensure a good trip.

First, ensure your vehicle is as ready for a vacation as you are. Next, check your tire wear to ensure they are up to the task. An excellent way to measure this is by sticking the top of a penny in the tread to see if it’s deeper than the top of Lincoln’s head. If not, the tire may need to be replaced. Also, check tire pressure, including that of your spare tire.

Check all your fluids, including oil, coolant, brake, and windshield washer fluid. Consulting a professional might be a good idea if these fluids are low. Also, take care of any scheduled maintenance, remembering the miles you will travel before you return home.

Pack a few safety essentials, along with those bathing suits and cargo shorts. Good recommendations include a first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, and a small tool kit. Also, be sure to have a cell phone charger that works in your car and get in the habit of plugging your phone while driving so that the battery is topped off if you get stranded.

Let friends and relatives know where you are going and the route you plan to take. Sharing your location through Google or Apple is an excellent idea if you’re comfortable with that. Traveling and trying to make good time can be stressful, but don’t let that lead to unsafe driving. Being too aggressive can lead to an accident, provoke another driver, and escalate into a road rage incident. If another driver is acting aggressively toward you, back off and let them go. You don’t know their state of mind, and your safety is much more important than winning an argument with another driver.

Try to stick to four-lane highways if traveling at night. Two-lane roads tend to have sharper curves and hills that may impact visibility in the dark. If you plan to stop after dark, try to stop at well-lit and busy gas stations or rest stops. Fill your tank well before it’s empty to avoid making a riskier stop out of desperation.

Rotate drivers and take frequent stops to ensure everyone stays alert. Driving while tired can also dramatically reduce your reaction time, so rest as necessary. The front-seat passenger should stay awake to have extra eyes on the road. If it’s a long road trip, backseat passengers can take naps to be refreshed and ready to take over the wheel when it’s time to rotate.

Of all the Spring Break Travel tips, the most important is to have fun! This is the ideal time to go on an adventure and make memories. With some planning and preparation, you will have a relaxing and enjoyable time.