Before Leaving Home
- Be certain that your car is in good working order. This includes checking your oil and coolant levels, as well as making sure your radiator blades are clean, the fan belt fits correctly and is not worn, all filters are clean, and the windshield wipers work correctly. If you are uncomfortable inspecting your automobile then take it to a qualified auto repair facility or dealership.
- Make sure your tire pressure is adequate. On the inside the driver’s side door jamb near the latch (not the hinges) there should be a sticker indicating the manufacturers recommended tire pressure. If your tires are not up this pressure, add the needed amount of air.
- Clean your headlights and taillights. They tend to get cloudy over time, reducing the strength of your lights.
- Start your trip with a full tank of gas.
- Get plenty of rest the night before to ensure you are well rested and alert for you drive.
While You Are Driving
- Make sure that everyone is buckled up properly. Check car seats to ensure they are installed correctly.
- Never drive impaired! If you have been drinking, you should not be the one driving. In 2012, there were 32 alcohol impaired driving fatalities in Massachusetts. 72% of drivers had a BAC greater than .15. Every one of these deaths was completely preventable!
- Slow down! There are going to be plenty of drivers on the road, so use caution.
- Observe the speed limit. Your chances of being involved in an auto accident are increased if you are driving too fast or too slow.
- Devote your full attention to the road. This means no cell phones, no breaking up arguments in the backseat, and no fiddling with the radio.
- Follow the rules of the road. This includes making sure that you do not follow the car in front of you too closely.
- When dusk approaches, turn on your headlights. Additionally, if the weather impedes visibility, make sure your headlights are on regardless of what time of day or night it is.
- If you are going to be on a long road trip, make frequent stops and rotate drivers to prevent drivers from becoming too fatigued.
- If your car starts to give you trouble, pull off the road. Be sure to pull as far off the road as possible.
By Todd D. Beauregard