Content reviewed by Jason D. Stone
As the U.S. moves past the pandemic, it’s finally time to hit the road with your family on a summer getaway. While it’s an exciting time for many people who have been stuck at home for over a year, it’s critical to be mindful of your safety before heading back out onto the freeway.
You and other drivers on the road may be rusty after a year of lockdowns, and your car might need some TLC if it’s been sitting unused in the garage. Prioritize safety this summer by preparing for your road trip with these nine tips.
1. Service Your Vehicle Before Departing
If you’ve been working remotely throughout the pandemic, it’s critical to give your car a proper tune-up before hitting the road. After sitting unused for so long, you may experience problems with the car battery because the alternator requires the car to run for the battery to recharge. Car engines can also lose lubrication if they sit idle for several months.
Before you head out on your road trip, take your car for a service appointment at the dealership or your local mechanic and ensure it’s up to date on oil changes and other required maintenance.
2. Double Check Your Insurance Coverage
In advance of your road trip, review your insurance policy to ensure you’re covered if you’re traveling out of state or become involved in a car accident in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts is a no-fault state, limiting the claims you can make if you become injured due to another driver’s negligence. Our Boston car accident attorneys can advise you on the best course of legal action if you sustain personal injuries.
3. Take Your Car on a Test Drive
Before a long road trip, it’s a good idea to take your car on a few shorter runs to restore your muscle memory, especially if you haven’t been driving much during the pandemic. Not only will this refresh your driving skills, but you’ll charge your car battery in the process. You’ll also have a chance to notice anything that’s not working, such as your headlights, brakes, or signal lights, so you can have those issues fixed before you leave on a more extended trip.
4. Pre-plan Your Route
Take time to think about your route before you leave. After a year of low traffic volumes and budget cuts to road repairs, some streets are in rough shape or may even be closed to construction as things begin reopening. Researching your planned path ahead of time can save you from unexpected detours or unpleasant road conditions.
5. Check Your Car Seats
If you’re traveling with kids on your family road trip this summer, check your car seat situation well in advance of departure. Your little ones have likely grown over the past year and a half, and you may need to make adjustments to their car seats or invest in a booster seat to accommodate their increased height and weight.
6. Follow the Posted Speed Limits
When you finally hit the road, pay attention to the posted speed limits. While many drivers tend to travel at a few mph above the posted limit, it’s best to take it slow as you and everyone around you readjust to driving.
7. Maintain Safe Distance From Other Vehicles
Give other drivers plenty of space to account for rusty reflexes and sudden stops. Maintain at least two car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead at all times, increasing this distance in inclement weather when visibility is poor, and the roads are wet.
8. Communicate Clearly Before Making a Move
Now more than ever, proper communication with other drivers on the road is essential to your safety. Be diligent about signaling before switching lanes, turning, or stopping. Try to provide ample time for drivers behind you to brake when you approach stop signs or red lights by tapping your brakes early. Just because you’re maintaining safe distances and actively being cautious doesn’t mean other drivers are. Proactive communication on the road can improve everyone’s safety.
9. Minimize Distractions in Your Vehicle
When you head out on a road trip with friends or family, it’s easy to get distracted by conversation, loud music, or kids in the backseat. Do your best to minimize these potential dangers by staying focused on the drive. Appoint your companion in the passenger’s seat as a navigator and DJ to limit the number of times you take your eyes off the road. Give kids in the backseat an iPad and headphones for quiet movie time or provide them with some games to play on the journey.
Contact Our Law Firm if You Are Involved in a Car Crash
No matter how cautious you are in preparing for your post-pandemic road trip, accidents can still occur. If you or a family member becomes injured in a car accident, contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers.
Our attorneys are experienced in personal injury and car accident cases. We can help you recover compensation for damage to your vehicle, injuries, medical expenses, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation.