Roads across the world are slowly reopening after temporarily shutting down to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As more and more travelers crowd the streets, you, your loved ones, and other people face new risks on the road. There will be drivers who haven’t driven their cars in months — there will also be drivers who have gotten used to driving on open roads and at higher speeds.
If you’re planning to take a long trip to another city or even if you’re just doing more driving to and from work, taking precautions is important. These seven (7) road safety tips for traveling during COVID-19 should help you prevent unwanted accidents and injuries on the road.
Check the Airbags
You never know what you might run into while driving. Thus, it’s best to ensure that all your vehicle safety gear is in check. Make sure to inspect before getting on the road. There have been too many instances of defective airbags in GM vehicles — you don’t want to be yet another casualty of this type of error.
If you’re unsure how to check your car’s airbags for defects, consult your car’s driver’s manual. There should be an airbag indicator on your dashboard that will hint you in if your airbag system is in trouble.
Make Sure the Vehicle is Fit for the Job
If you haven’t driven your car for a while, there are three (3) potential issues that you can expect:
- Your battery is dead and will need charging
- Your tires have become brittle and require replacements
- Your fuel has degraded due to moisture
Basically, everything that you haven’t been able to think of for a while due to the COVID-19 pandemic will need to be addressed. Visit your mechanic and have your vehicle inspected to make sure that its components are fit for travel.
Avoid Driving When Drowsy
Some nights you simply have to fight through the drowsiness, especially if you’re on a tight schedule and you need to be on time for business. However, driving sleepy still poses a serious risk to your safety and health.
A couple of signs that you may need to pull over and rest:
- You have trouble keeping your eyes open
- You can’t focus on the road
- You keep nodding in and out of wakefulness
- You’re experiencing plenty of daydreams
As much as possible, listen to your body — especially if you’re traveling alone. Your reaction time won’t be as fast if you’re driving drowsy; thus, it may become very easy for you to get into an accident.
If you don’t want to stopover someplace to rest and risk being late, see if you can find a travel buddy so you both can take turns driving.
Drinking coffee might also help your chances of staying awake on the road. But when in doubt, always choose rest.
Stay Away from Distractions
There have been plenty of car accident lawsuits because of distracted driving — you don’t want to be one of them.
When traveling on the road — especially with other people — you’re bound to run into some things that will take your focus off the road. To avoid possible accidents, it’s important to lay some ground rules before starting the trip.
For instance, talking or playing soft music while on the road should generally be fine; however, there should definitely be no shouting, roughhousing, or loud music playing in the car. These activities can very easily distract you from your job of driving.
Keep everyone occupied by distributing responsibilities to everyone on the trip. For example, one person can be in charge of the map while the other can be in charge of snacks and drinks.
Don’t Forget the Emergency Kit
This is possibly one of the most underrated road safety tips in the book. The truth is, no matter how safe and prepared you are on the road, there is always a possibility for something to go wrong. You might encounter a reckless driver or a stray animal crossing the street.
Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, especially if you’re going on a particularly long trip.
Here are a few items to keep in mind:
- Warm clothes
- First-aid kit
- List of emergency contacts
- Jumper cables
- Tire-changing equipment
Having these items on hand while you’re traveling can help keep you and your loved ones safe, warm, and hydrated while you wait for help to reach you.
Stick to the Speed Limit
Plenty of drivers forgets about the speed limit once they get on the road. But it’s one of the most basic road safety rules that is taught. While it’s perfectly understandable that you’d want to shave a couple of hours off your traveling time to stay on schedule, it’s not worth it if you’re putting your safety at risk.
The faster you drive, the longer it will take for our car to slow down. In other words, the less time you have to react correctly to any approaching danger.
If you want to stay on schedule, your best bet is to take off earlier than planned. This saves a ton of time in traffic, as most drivers haven’t left their homes yet. In other words, there will be fewer chances of you getting in a jam.
Keep Safe Distance
You don’t want to bump into people while you’re traveling on a tight schedule. It’ll only cause you more delay and possibly even put your health and safety at risk. This is why it’s important to keep enough space between you and the car in front and behind you.
Follow the three-second rule of driving:
Slow and count to three to get enough space behind another driver.
This will give you enough time to react to circumstances that may put you and your passengers in danger.
Is It Safe to Travel on the Road During COVID-19?
Driving a private vehicle while traveling is possibly the safest mode to travel, especially during a pandemic. It lessens your exposure to people who may be carrying the virus with them. Depending on where you’re traveling, who you’re traveling with, and the restrictions in that said area, traveling should be relatively safe.
However, you should still take careful steps to minimize your risk of inspection.
Stopping over for gas, food, and bathroom breaks while traveling can still put you in danger, especially if you’re stopping over a particularly crowded area.
You may have to take fewer bathroom breaks, and gas stops to minimize your risk. Furthermore, you may have to prepare and pack your food for the trip.
COVID-19 Safety Tips
The last thing you want is to get infected by the COVID-19 virus while on the road. Here are a couple of precautions to take:
- Wear a face mask when in public spaces with other people
- Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer or alcohol with you to disinfect your hands as needed
- Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom as well as before and after you eat
- You may want to consider camping if hotels and B&Bs are fully booked
- Bring an extra container of gas with you, so you won’t need to make so many stops
The Bottom Line
There is a world of wonders to enjoy when you travel. You get to enjoy many new sceneries, plus learn more about the culture and characteristics of other areas in the world. However, because accidents and illness are almost inevitable consequences of traveling, we should take extra precautions to lessen or eliminate our risks.
The tips we have mentioned above can help you avoid getting into sticky situations where your health, safety, and security will be put at risk.