Traveler's Test

How to Stay Safe When Driving Long Distances on Unfamiliar Roads

How to Stay Safe When Driving Long Distances on Unfamiliar Roads

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Road safety must be a priority for any driver, and a good starting point is recognizing the risks involved in every journey, while knowing how to minimize them.

We’ve put together an overview of auto accident data covering the entirety of North Carolina, as well as some tips on how to enjoy safe road trips, no matter how far you’re traveling.

Eye-opening stats on NC’s car crash conundrum

The most recent data shows that 2021 was a record year for fatal auto accidents in North Carolina, with the number of people killed hitting 1,755, representing a five percent year on year increase.

This comes after 2020 saw a dip in deaths, which is largely attributed to the pandemic and its ongoing impact on travel.

Almost half of those who died were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision, and unfortunately around 15 percent of people killed were pedestrians rather than motorists.

Perhaps a positive piece of information to come out of the latest reports is that cyclists are not involved in as many fatal accidents as you might assume, with just 23 killed. Comparatively the 205 motorcycle owners who died in 2021 seems far more troubling.

Advice on safe driving practices for long distance journeys

If you don’t want to become one of the statistics yourself, there are several steps you can take to improve your safety on the road, such as:

Maintaining your car

Carrying out maintenance work on your vehicle won’t just make it more reliable, but also safer. This includes inflating tyres to the correct pressures before big trips and replacing worn-out windshield wiper blades.

Hiring a car accident lawyer

Getting a car accident lawyer to represent you if you are involved in a collision is wise. That way you can get help with claiming on your insurance, and seeking compensation if another party is liable. For example if you’re based in Charlotte, you can find a car accident lawyer that has direct experience in your area. 

Taking breaks

The classic idea of a long distance road trip which sees you sitting at the wheel for hour after hour isn’t very useful from a safety perspective. Tiredness is a big killer, so scheduling in regular breaks to refresh and recuperate will prevent fatigue setting in. Breaking longer journeys into shorter chunks with overnight stops in between can also avoid this issue.

Obeying speed limits & traffic laws

Simple things like sticking to the speed limit and wearing your seatbelt will stop many of the dangers behind lots of auto accidents from impacting your experience.

The rules of the road are there for a reason, and if you don’t adhere to them then making one little mistake is much more likely to lead to a fatality.

Planning your route beforehand

Unfamiliar roads don’t need to be daunting if you’ve looked up the route you’re going to take in advance, and made yourself aware of any quirks or potential hazards it has to offer.

That way you don’t need to be totally reliant on your car’s built-in navigation, or your smartphone’s GPS, to get from A to B. This will let you keep all your attention focused on the road ahead, and not leave you distracted.

Packing the right gear

Things like a first aid kit, some bottled water and a healthy selection of snacks will come in handy on any road trip.

Most importantly, you’ll need these things if an accident does occur, or if your vehicle breaks down unexpectedly and you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, waiting for recovery vehicles to arrive.

So in short don’t take any chances, be sensible about how you drive, and treat your car with respect and you’ll be fine!