Road Trip Safety

road trip safety

Memorial Day starts the most popular season for taking road trips. Whether you are traveling to see National Parks, historical sites, or visiting friends and family this summer, we want you to get there safe. There are some basic safety tips you can use every road trip to ensure you have a fun, safe time.

Be Prepared

Before you start off on your journey, make sure you have some basic preparations. The best place to start is with your vehicle and making sure everything is ready for a long car trip and functioning properly. Some things to check are:

  • Oil level
  • Tire pressure
  • All fluids
  • Headlights and signals
  • Brakes
  • Belts, caps, hoses, and filters

Another area of preparation should include emergency items for changing a spare tire like a spare tire and the necessary tools. Extra blankets, water bottles, and a little cash on hand are all good things to keep in your trunk. It is also a good idea to make sure you have your driver’s license.

Communicate Your Plans

An important way to stay safe is to make sure someone knows your travel plans. If you ever get into car crash, have car troubles, or get lost, someone will know how to find you. If possible, check in regularly too since many people do not get cellphone coverage their whole trip. This helps narrow down the possible places you could be if something happens. While making random stops is an exciting part of road trips, it is still possible while having a general map drawn up. Mapping out your route before leaving also helps avoid problems like road closures, construction, and toll roads. Keeping an extra charger with you to keep your phones charged and GPS running.

Do Not Drive Drowsy

Getting enough rest for a road trip is vital to staying awake and alert while driving. Drowsy driving is dangerous, claiming 795 lives in 2017. Too often, drivers want to push through their fatigue and get to their location. When tired, brains have impaired cognition and performance, similar to being drunk. 

Most drivers have their own tips and tricks for staying awake while driving, but here are some ideas.

  • Drink caffeine
  • Talk to a passenger in the car
  • Roll down the window
  • Listen to the radio

If none of these are working, pull off the road to a safe place and take a nap. 

Watch for Changes

When driving on unfamiliar roads, it is important to be extra watchful. Roads are generally the same, but there are small differences between states. Some examples are changing speed limits, interchanges, and road hazards. Having unexpected changes in roads or directions can increase your chances of getting into a crash. While drivers should always pay close attention to the road, it is especially important to be vigilant in an unknown area.

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

If you are getting ready to go on a road trip, these tips will help keep you safe. Road trips are a great way to vacation on your way to a vacation. It is important to make every trip memorable for the right reasons. Whether you are a new driver or an experienced driver, the amount of preparation put into the trip will help ensure you have a great trip.

Driving Tips to Improve Your Gas Mileage

tips to improve gas mileage image for 911 Driving School

Driving a car is convenient but can also be expensive. If you commute to work, drive around town constantly, or just like to take a lot of adventures in your car, the gas bills can build up quickly. An important piece of information for many car buyers is the gas mileage the vehicle gets on the freeway and around town. Having a vehicle that gets good gas mileage is important, but a lot of that is determined in the way it is driven. Here are some tips to improve the gas mileage of your car.

  1. Ease into starting. One of the most basic ways that mileage is improved is by slowly pushing on the gas when moving. Slamming on the gas when a light turns green or speeding while backing out of a parking space wastes gas, decreasing your gas mileage potential. Instead, slowly accelerate. 
  2. Braking suddenly. Just like speeding up burns up gas quickly, braking is a big waste of gas too. When a car is powered with gas just before braking quickly, it is wasted. Instead, slow down gradually and let the vehicle naturally decelerate before braking.
  3. Drive the speed limit. The faster a vehicle goes, the more drag it creates. Many freeways have been given speed limits that keep vehicles within the limit of optimum gas mileage. While each vehicle is going to have its own optimal driving speed, gas mileage in general begins to rapidly decrease after 50 mph.
  4. Choose routes without a lot of stop and go requirements. Constantly stopping and going in the vehicle will use up more gas than if the road is open. Some routes that may take away gas mileage potential include a lot of intersections, toll roads, and even construction routes. Plan routes using proper inputs on your GPS to help determine the best way to go.
  5. Use the right fuel. Car manufacturers test their vehicles to determine gas mileage with the most premium level of fuel. It helps improve the performance of the system and give more mileage potential. The best way to know what the ideal gasoline is for your car is to look it up in the owner’s manual that comes with the vehicle.
  6. Keep tires properly inflated. Each tire has a correct pressure that is recommended by the manufacturer. When there is not enough air in the tire, it increases the resistance on the ground, slowing the car down. Having enough contact with the ground and a good tread on the tires will help the vehicle roll more easily, giving the entire vehicle better gas mileage and extending the life of the tires.
  7. Do not idle. Whenever the vehicle is fully on, the engine is using up gasoline whether it is moving or not. Sitting with the car idling for long periods of time can use a lot of gas that does not contribute to gas mileage. Decrease idling time by turning off the vehicle while waiting when possible and avoid areas where there are traffic jams.
  8. Use Cruise Control. Whenever you are driving a long stretch of road, use the cruise control in the vehicle. It reduces the need for accelerating and braking too much and keeps your car running efficiently.

Using less gasoline is great for the earth but it is also great for your wallet. Saving a few dollars here and there on gas adds up quickly. Being mindful of small actions and taking care of a vehicle also leads to safer driving habits. When a driver understands these, they are more likely to be a responsible driver.