Surviving Hazardous Driving Conditions On a Road Trip
Most people have an innate need to travel at some point in their life. This could likely come from the nomadic tribes of the past, but regardless of where this urge comes from, it definitely exists. Taking a road trip is great way to act on that urge, and while it can be a fun, freeing way to see the countryside, it does involve extensive amounts of time behind the wheel opening drivers and passengers up to more risks of encountering less than pleasant driving conditions. Drivers can come across and even create hazardous conditions, so knowing how to handle these situations is imperative.
Road Trip Essentials
Pack an Emergency Kit
Every vehicle should have an emergency kit, and if a person doesn’t have one in their car then they need to get one before going on any road trips. There are certain areas in America where if a person breaks down, they may be stranded for hours on end. Being prepared with an emergency pack can easily turn what could be a tragedy into a few warm hours of waiting for a tow truck.
Any emergency pack should have a first-aid kit, warning lights or flares, a fire extinguisher and foam tire sealant. There are also some items that would almost seem common sense. A vehicle should always have a flashlight and jumper cables inside of it. Gloves can also come in handy. If a person is traveling during the winter, they should bring warm clothing, blankets and a small shovel. Kitty litter or sand should also be brought to put under the tires if they get stuck in the snow. Additional snacks and bottled water should also always be kept on hand.
Know how to Handle Hydroplaning
Hydroplaning is one of the easiest ways to get into a wreck during a rainstorm. The first thing to do is try to prevent hydroplaning. There is no need to drive a vehicle fast during a heavy downpour; wherever a person is heading will still be there after the rain. It is also best to avoid sitting water when safe to do so. Sometimes avoiding this hazard isn’t possible, so knowing how to handle them is the next best thing.
Once a person feels their car start to hydroplane, they immediately need to take their foot off of the accelerator. It is important to also not apply the brakes until the tires are safely back in contact with the asphalt. The driver should look and steer in the direction that they want to go. It is also important not to accelerate during a hydroplane. Only after the owner is back in control of their car should they apply the brakes or accelerator.
Don’t Create Bad Situations
Drivers who are able to avoid hazardous situations are still capable of creating their own. This should be avoided at all costs. A great majority of states have actually passed laws against text messaging and driving. This is because it greatly increases the chance of a person getting into an accident. The chances of getting into a crash while text messaging have been equated to the risk associated with drinking and driving.
Driving under the influence puts the driver, all of their passengers and every other driver on the road at risk. Even if a person doesn’t feel intoxicated and doesn’t cause an accident, they can still be pulled over, and if they blow over the legal limit, there could be dire consequences. According to Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer, Robert Malove, DUI penalties vary from state to state and some states can have stricter rules on blood alcohol content, which is a measure of an individuals’ level of intoxication. So road trippers need to be especially careful on the issue of alcohol consumption since they are often driving across state lines.
No matter where a person is in the United States there are always other things that they want to see. A person in New York City who sees the Empire State Building everyday might just want to see the clear waters on the Gulf Coast; while a Gulf Coast resident may be drawn to the vast desert of Arizona and road trips are always a great way to explore new places. Regardless of what part of the nation is calling to a person, it is important to know these few tips to better prepare yourself for potentially hazardous situations.
Have you encountered less than pleasant driving experiences on a road trip? How did you handle it? Please share in the comment box.
Ebele Okocha is a freelance writer who enjoys the liberating rush of a weekend road trip adventure. She is also a contributing author for the law firm of Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer, Robert Malove, a well respected specialist in criminal law recognized by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Education and Specialization as a criminal trial law expert.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toolmantim/6828955801/