When we drive the same highways, streets, back roads, maybe ride bicycles, or even walk, be aware that you are “always” traveling a different route every day. How can this be? Every day, hour, minute, and second brings changes along the route that demand our full attention so that we can recognize and react to the changes. It is easy to follow the same route or path and not notice the subtle, and perhaps dangerous, changes along the way. Complacency along the way can easily lead to serious results.
Your Car: Make sure your car is well maintained and running at peak performance for the trip at hand. Check the battery, tires, lights, wipers, and fluids periodically. If you will be using a rental car, always be sure you know how to operate all the controls and lights before you leave the lot. Automatic running lights and headlights vary from car to car so it is a good practice to always use head lights and to make sure they are on. Running lights don’t provide good visibility in low light conditions.
Your Trip: Plan accordingly! There are many cell phone apps and GPS systems that make it easy to check weather, road conditions, construction areas, and help with route planning before you leave. Reduce your stress by allowing plenty of time for potential delays and frequent breaks. The fall season brings a variety of fast changing weather, road conditions, lighting conditions, time change, school and work activities, and construction changes. Take everything into account every time you’re behind the wheel.
Prepare Yourself: InTEXTicated driving is now at epidemic stage so you need to be extra vigilant and aware so you can avoid the “texters” who are driving erratically, not paying attention to their driving, and putting themselves and everybody else on the road at risk. Drowsy driving is another risk that can be just as dangerous as InTEXTicated driving. Make sure you are rested for the drive and if you get tired along the way, pull over for a quick nap. Often just a 15 minute nap or break can wake you up and get you recharged for the drive ahead.