As you make your road trips this holiday season, keep a few things in mind. Sometimes, we put ourselves in danger without even realizing it. We put together a short list of 6 dangerous things you might do on your road trips.
Nearly everyone has done this at one point or another. You're settling in for a long trip across the state and want to get comfortable. So you pull the shoulder strap behind your back.
Most people don't even realize it's a danger, because they're still "wearing" their seatbelt. However, modern seatbelts (also known as 3-point seatbelts) are designed to distribute the force of impact across three separate spots: the top of the shoulder restraint, the buckle, and where the belt is fastened across your lap.
When you remove the shoulder belt, it places all the force on your lap, which can cause extremely serious injuries. Make sure to keep it over your shoulders when taking those long road trips.
Maybe you kicked your shoes off for the long drive and decided to put your feet up. Who doesn't want to be comfortable when there's a long drive ahead?
However, this practice is extremely dangerous for a few different reasons. In the event of an accident where your airbags deploy, this could cause serious damage to your legs and spine.
Also, if you're able to relax with your feet up, you might be slouching deep into your seat. Without sitting properly, the safety features of your car might be more deadly than helpful in an accident.
Eating behind the wheel might seem like a great way to save time when you're on the road. After all, stopping to eat can put you and the family behind schedule. However, it's also extremely distracting, especially when coupled with dangerous weather conditions and a car full of passengers.
It might not seem like a big deal, but taking your attention away from the road, even for a few seconds, can lead to serious accidents and injuries.
For your next road trip, we recommend building in some extra time to stop and eat – even if it's just snacking in your parked car.
Road trips can be exhausting, especially if you're the driver trying to "power through" to your destination. While we know most people have schedules to keep – especially around the holidays – it's always good to have another driver ready to take over.
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving after a few drinks. Studies suggest that drivers awake for 18 hours have reaction times equivalent to a .05 BAC. Those awake for 24 hours have reaction times equal to .10 BAC or higher.
While the holidays can cause you to overextend yourself, make sure you're getting plenty of sleep before you start driving. If you're able, take shifts with a spouse or family member, so you can stay awake and safely get where you're going.
This one is a general winter mistake that many drivers make. Whether they're in a hurry to leave or don't have the patience to brush off their car, drivers often depart without getting the car cleared of snow and ice.
In Pennsylvania, you can be held responsible if ice from your car causes an accident. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time before your leave, so you can remove any excess snow or ice.
Whether you're on a long road trip or just a short drive to the local supermarket, being able to comfortably control your car is crucial to avoiding accidents in winter weather. Bundling up to face the cold is necessary, but be careful when you're getting ready to drive.
Wearing heavy boots or any other restricting clothing may hinder your driving abilities. Make sure you're comfortable when you get behind the wheel. Clunky boots may slow reaction times or even result in hitting the wrong pedal.
If need be, bring shoes that are comfortable for driving. You can always change into snow boots before getting out of the car.
We hope you have a safe and happy holiday this year. Winter weather might threaten our roads, but – with a little prevention and preparation – you'll be ready for the hazards of the season.