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Precautions for Long-Distance Driving

There are many good reasons why people travel long distances during the year, such as taking a road trip to sightsee what our country has to offer or visiting relatives for the holidays and special occasions. While taking long-distance driving trips are fun, accidents can happen. To avoid becoming a traffic accident statistic, it is vital for travelers to take the appropriate precautions for driving long distances.

Texas Presents Challenges for Drivers

The state of Texas, with its vast land mass and seemingly endless roads can create challenges for drivers who need to drive through the state. Those who are unfamiliar with Texas roads and driving conditions should take extra precautions before starting their trip. When leaving the outskirts of large metropolitan areas, such as Ennis or Midlothian, Texas to the south or Denton, Texas to the north of Dallas, it’s a good idea for drivers to confirm that they and their vehicles are properly prepared for a long trip.

Prepare With Rest and Emergency Kits

Before taking a long drive, travelers should get plenty of sleep the night before – at least eight hours. A custom-made emergency road kit that includes extra clothes, blankets, first-aid kit, flashlights, road flares, water, and tire chains for winter are recommended; and of course, don’t forget the snacks and car travel games for the kids. Travelers should know how to change a spare tire and how to properly jump-start a car. Tools, a jack, and jumper cables are a must on road trips.

Take Plenty of Breaks and Switch Drivers

Whenever possible, it’s ideal to drive with another licensed driver in the passenger seat who can take over driving when fatigue or drowsiness kick in. Solo drivers, or when there is no other relief driver available, should take frequent breaks to stretch their legs, use the restroom, or inspect the vehicle. Don’t forget, kids need breaks too. Letting them watch movies the whole way will leave their legs feeling stiff. It is good to take a break every two to three hours.

Avoid Alcohol and Medications That Make You Drowsy

Naturally, drivers should always avoid alcohol when they intend to drive. They should also check medications to make sure they won’t impair driving ability. Some prescription medications could cause drowsiness or even register on a breathalyzer test if pulled over by the authorities. Lack of checking on medications can result in drivers getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of an impairing substance, meaning they’ll be looking for a DUI lawyer in an unfamiliar town rather than reaching their destination.

Follow Your Equipment and Safety Checklist

To summarize the critical points of driving long distances and safely reaching the intended destination, drivers should have a well-thought-out plan that includes checking the vehicle and completing needed maintenance and repairs, carrying emergency equipment, taking needed breaks when necessary, and checking medications to make sure they won’t impair safe driving. Reviewing safe driving techniques such as avoiding distractions, and taking extra precautions in adverse weather helps to make the road trip safe and fun.