Spring Break & Summer Vacation Road Safety TipsTrusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. May 12, 2018
Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Boasting gorgeous beaches, unique tourist attractions, and incredible real estate, Florida is a place that both families and individual vacationers flock to given the chance. Whether you’re a Florida native or just passing through, there are a few driving safety tips to keep in mind to give you positive memories rather than potential heartbreak.
The legal team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk urges you to exercise caution when travelling on the road. If you or a loved one has suffered due to the fault of another on our roads call our accident attorneys for a free, no obligation consultation at 800-538-4878
1. Don’t drink and drive.
Impaired driving not only endangers you, it endangers everyone around you. Make sure that you always have a sober driver or other transportation home (a bus, Uber, traditional cab, etc). And err on the side of caution: If you think you might be too drunk to drive, you probably are. DUIs have serious and long-lasting personal and legal consequences. You could lose your license, pay expensive fines, or even do time in jail. And that’s nothing compared to the emotional devastation that comes with an injury-causing accident. Do the right thing during your vacation; trust a sober driver.
2. Have your car inspected.
This is especially imperative if you’re visiting Florida from out-of-state — if you’re going on a long road trip, you need to be sure your car is up to the task. Many drivers forget to double check key aspects of their car’s performance before they set off, which can cause breakdowns or even car accidents.
Double check your headlights, turn signals, and dashboard accuracy. Then make sure your brakes and transmission don’t need updating or repairs. Whether you’re going on a road trip or not, you should check your car brakes annually or after 20,000 miles — whichever comes first. Make sure you double check that all your car’s fluids are up-to-date, too. If you need an oil change, get it done. Need more windshield wiper fluid? Now’s the time.
3. Check your tire quality.
If you’re going to be covering large amounts of ground or off-roading, you need high quality tires. You should buy a pressure gauge and run a check on all of your tires. Most vehicles should have their tires rotated after every five thousand miles or so. Do the “penny test” — push an upside-down penny into your tire’s tread. If you can still see the whole of Abraham Lincoln’s head, your treads are dangerously thin, and your wheels should be replaced. Make sure that you have a spare tire as well. Several makes and models of modern vehicles don’t automatically come equipped with the spare tire anymore. Having a spare with you can be the difference between a half hour on the side of the road versus hours waiting for a tow.
4. Make sure the individualized settings are optimized for you.
This one’s fairly intuitive, but worth mentioning especially when you’re going on a long trip. Make sure that both your rear view and side mirrors give you an unobstructed view of the traffic. If you have luggage, ensure it isn’t blocking the back windshield or any windows. And make sure your seat and steering wheel are both adjusted comfortably.
5. Understand the safety features of your car.
Many cars, especially cars manufactured in the last five years or so, come with their own driver assistance technology. This can cover everything from backup cameras to automatic crash braking. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the safety features of your car’s make and model. While you’re at it, make sure that your airbags and any other internal safety features are functional and safely configured. If you plan to use cruise control on a road trip, make sure you understand both automatic and manual ways of switching it off if need be.
6. Pack an emergency kit in case of breakdowns.
In addition to the spare tire and atlas, you should have an emergency kit just in case you run into trouble on the road. Even cars that have just been fully inspected can run into unexpected issues, so it’s best to prepare yourself. Your emergency kit should have warm blankets, water, a flashlight, and a first-aid kit just in case you’re stranded for an extended period of time. It should also have road flares for situations in which you need to signal drivers but are unable to use your flashers. And jumper cables are a must-have for charging a dead battery or jump starting a stalled car. If you do break down, call for roadside assistance as soon as everyone’s safety is secured. Investing in roadside assistance is ideal, especially before a long road trip. Roadside assistance can help you with everything from accidentally locking your keys in your car to a completely dead engine.
7. Follow basic safety protocols.
a. Florida law requires all front seat passengers in a vehicle to wear a seatbelt. All passengers under the age of 18 must also wear a seatbelt regardless of their position in the vehicle. Even disregarding legality, it’s been proven that wearing your seatbelt reduces injuries and deaths in automobile accidents by more than fifty percent. This means that your chance of being seriously injured or killed in an accident is more than twice as high if you don’t wear your seatbelt.
b. In addition, you should make sure you’ve gotten enough sleep if you’re planning to drive for long periods of time. Keep your eyes on the road. Take breaks when you need them, stay alert, and switch drivers frequently if you have multiple passengers with valid driver’s licenses.
c. Don’t speed, and don’t tailgate people, especially on the interstate. The DMV recommends a three-second following distance when driving, which gives you time to react and stop should the car in front of you brake suddenly.
The legal team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk urges you to exercise caution when traveling on the road. If you or a loved one has suffered due to the fault of another on our roads call our accident attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation at 800-538-4878, we are available 24/7