It may not surprise you to know that driving is actually one of the least safe forms of transport out there. If you do have to drive, however, there are plenty of things you can do to make even the longest of journeys a lot safer. This article will explain how to stay safe when driving for long periods of time.
Before you set off on a long journey
It can’t be said enough: the most important part of a long journey is preparation. Firstly, make sure your car is in tip-top condition. You don’t want to be caught short in the middle of the night or on a lonely stretch of road. Make sure your tyres are fully pumped, your fluids are all at optimum levels, and you have a full tank of petrol. It’s also a good idea to become a member of the AA, if you haven’t done so already.
Secondly, plan your journey and include for rest stops, ideally every two hours. Don’t depend on a GPS alone: they’re not infallible by any means! If possible, plan to stay overnight in a hotel or B&B. The witching hours of between 2 and 6am are the most dangerous. If you can’t do this, make sure to have at least two high-caffeine beverages with you in the car in case there are no rest stops at the point where you find you need a quick pick-me-up.
Avoiding accidents when driving on long journeys
During the journey itself, the most important thing to be aware of is tiredness. It’s thought that up to 25% of serious accidents have fatigue as a contributing factor, and accidents are also 50% more likely to be serious if you are sleepy at the wheel due to decreased reaction time and poor decision-making.
Take your rest stops even if you don’t feel sleepy, and make sure to stop for a 15-minute nap when you do. Those 15 minutes won’t make much of a difference to your arrival time, but can mean the difference between arriving safely and not arriving at all!
If you have been injured due to another driver’s fatigue on the road, you may be entitled to compensation. Accident Advice Helpline can help you find out if your claim is valid, without any obligation to continue with the claim. As Esther Rantzen, Accident Advice Helpline’s patron, says, ‘innocent people whose lives have been wrecked by an accident which was not their fault – and have faced hardship, unemployment or disability as a result. The law states that if you’ve been hurt, and someone else was negligent and is to blame, you should be compensated.’