In the August 2010 issue of “Everyday with Rachael Ray”, the magazine has a small feature on traveling and vacations – where to stay, what books to read, and some great traveling tips on staying safe. Since I will be leaving on my trip in a couple of days, I thought that I would share these tips with you!
Stay Safe: Traffic safety researcher Federico E. Vaca, professor of emergency medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, gives us his top safety tips. [Hint: It’s all in the prep.]
GET YOUR CAR IN TIP-TOP SHAPE
Check tire pressure, change your oil and make sure your radiator is working well in hot summer months. (In colder weather, gauge antifreeze levels.)
KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE
Depart after 7 a.m. and arrive before 10 p.m. Research shows that the roads are most dangerous very early in the morning and late at night, when people are more likely to be intoxicated or tired, and when fewer police officers are around.
MAP OUT A PLAN
Knowing where you’ll stay each night drastically cuts down on the likelihood that you’ll get lost. If you don’t have a GPS system, Google Maps offers free applications for most mobile devices (download at m.google.com/maps on your phone’s browser.)
DON’T DRINK – NOT EVEN A SIP
It’s never safe to drink and drive – even a beer with lunch affects your ability. Studies show that after a single drink, important changes in cognition occur.
Pull over every two to three hours and stretch your legs, both to ward off fatigue and to avoid deep vein thrombosis.
More than 100,000 crashes in 2009 were due to drowsy driving. If you feel tired, stop at a safe, well-lit place and take a power nap. Better yet, check into a motel early and catch up on sleep.
These are all wonderful tips that you can follow this summer while embarking on your road trip. I also have a few of my own to share, that you can take in to consideration.
Hydrate yourself If you’re not hydrated you’re more than likely to become sleepy real quick, especially when you’re traveling for many hours. Drink plenty of water the day before you leave, and drink water while you’re traveling. Sure you may have to make some rest area pit stops, but you won’t be so tired once you arrive at your destination. Water is also good for keeping you alert; coffee, not so. Caffeine will five you a temporary perk, but then will bring you crashing down if you stop the caffeine feed.
Enlist a co-pilot Reading maps, either paper or GPS, is dangerous when you’re trying to drive. Ask a passenger to navigate the maps for you, so you can pay attention to the road in front of you. Even asking a passenger to snap photos along the route is better than you the driver trying to snap and drive. I’ve seen people do this, and it is extremely dangerous.
Make sandwiches and bring snacks This way you won’t have to stop at fast food joints and spend more money than you want to. Last year my cousin made sandwiches and packed, bite size fruit, potato chips, cookies, soda, and bottled water for us to eat while en-route to Minneapolis. I plan on doing this for when we leave Fargo and head to Minneapolis – it’s a longer drive, and this way we won’t have to stop at McDonald’s or Burger King [I’m also lactose intolerant and now can’t really stomach fast food, so it’s best to pack snacks and sandwiches myself].
I drive, you drive If your road trip will be a long one, it’s best to designate drivers for when you become tired. One can drive while the other one sleeps, and vice-versa. If you have a car full of four passengers, discuss amongst yourself who will drive when and for how long.
Pay attention to road speeds This is important especially when traveling through the U.S. – they have a maximum and a minimum posted speed. If you go over and under the speeds posted, you will be ticketed. Don’t underestimate how many State Troopers are around… they hide, and hide well. One came out of nowhere and pulled us over last year. I swear they have a cloak of invisibility. [Note: We did not get pulled over for violating speed laws, the driver swerved too close to the dotted lines and we were pulled over to ask why.]