Smith, Dickey & Dempster P.A.
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Safety tips for your next road trip

Now that summer is here, you are probably wrapping up plans for this year's road trip. However, driving long distances can come with unique hazards you may not experience commuting to and from work. For instance, being behind the wheel for hours can lead to driver fatigue which is a top cause of many car accidents.

Before you head out of Fayetteville on I-95, take a moment to examine your driving plan and how you will stay safe and alert. Here are some long-distance driving safety tips to help during your next road trip.

Don't get behind the wheel tired

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. In this situation, the drowsy driver is usually not alert and has slower reflexes, just like an intoxicated driver. Before you head out on the road, be sure to get plenty of sleep for at least the two nights immediately prior to the start of your journey. This will help you be alert and ready to go when it is time to head out.

Use the buddy system

Not only are road trips more fun when you have a passenger along, they are also safer. Having another person in the car increases your chances of staying awake and alert. In addition, your co-pilot can also monitor the route to make sure you don't make a wrong turn or even take over the task of driving if you need a break.

Turn on the radio

If this is a solo trip, use the radio. Some background noise will help you stay alert. While music you can sing along with is very effective, there are other options as well. For example, many people use long road trips to catch up on their reading list by listening to books on tape.

Stretch it out

Take plenty of breaks. For most people, the optimal time to take a break, stretch, grab a snack, top up the gas tank and visit the restroom is every two hours. This will help you shake off driver fatigue and stay alert for the next leg. Remember, wherever you are headed will still be there no matter how long it takes or how many breaks you take. There is no need to try to drive the entire way without making a few stops.

Other tips that can help you stay alert behind the wheel include snacking on granola bars, trail mix or something else that is easy to munch on while driving and using a GPS device.

Unfortunately, even the above safety tips may not help if there are negligent or reckless drivers on the road. While you might be alert, another driver may not be and could pose a danger. If you have been the victim of a car accident, you might be able to file a claim for your injuries and the other damages you suffered.

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