Safety Driving Tips for long summer drives

By Botchi Santos Philippine Daily Inquirer April 24,2019

Start driving away slowly, developing your natural driving rhythm.

Summer is in full swing, and we all love a good road trip with family and friends. Before heading out, here are some safety preparation and driving tips to consider.

Check your car, make sure it is in tip-top shape

Before driving off, take the time to have your car thoroughly checked. Ideally, you should have your car serviced so it gets fresh fluids, filters, belts, and a thorough check-up by a professional mechanic. This will not only ensure your car is safe and reliable, but efficient, too! Don’t forget to check your tires, too, especially the spare tire for punctures and correct tire pressure.

Make sure your gear is complete

Aside from things you’ll be bringing for your trip, ensure that your tools, tire jack and wrench are complete, you bring a flashlight, car phone charger, a large bottle of distilled water for drinks, minor clean-up, and topping up the cooling system, dry & wet wipe tissues, some wash cloths, and worker’s gloves. A first aid kit is also a must especially when you’re going far from civilization. We’re also very digitally connected, but it helps to bring a road map of the area you are going to, just in case here is no mobile phone service along your route to your destination.

Time your departure and arrival, avoid rush hour, give plenty of leeway
Nothing stresses you out more on a road trip than starting or ending it in traffic as all the good vibes would just vanish. And with a tight schedule, you’ll be rushing which means you’re prone to driving above the speed limit and driving dangerously. Relax.

Drive within the speed limit
The speed limit helps you maintain a consistent pace, improves fuel efficiency, and makes driving less stressful rather than tiring yourself out by zooming past other cars and wasting fuel, not to mention endangering your life and that of others. Plus, it gives you more time to react in case of emergency evasive maneuvers versus driving beyond the speed limit.

Plot your route, make scheduled stops every 60-90 minutes

The planned stops make the long drives more bearable for passengers, give you time to stretch, relax, enjoy a short break with a drink to wake you up, take a toilet break, and inspect your car if it’s doing great.

Drive carefully, especially in unfamiliar territory

If it’s your first time driving through a particular road or area, drive carefully. It’s a form of respect to those who reside in that area, allows you more time to react to sudden changes depending on road and traffic conditions, and is generally safer.

Yield the right of way

On intersections, joining / exiting the highway, in crowded areas such as markets, malls and rest stops on the expressway, always yield the right of way. It’s safer, avoids accidents and potential altercations, and is more predictable for you, the driver, if your mindset is to always yield in the interest of safety. On camel-back roads, slow down as you go up to the crest as there might be an obstruction after the crest.

Stop or slow down when sudden downpours occur

When driving in changing light conditions (dusk, twilight, dawn, etc) as visibility is greatly affected due to the sudden change – after driving for hours in the same condition, our senses acclimatize to the environment. But when road and weather conditions change, we need a bit of time for our senses to readjust.

Avoid driving late at night on unlit, deserted roads

In case of a breakdown, it will be hard to get help. And you will be prone to bandits.

We hope that with these simple tips, your long summer road trips will be safer, more enjoyable, and more memorable. Happy motoring!

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