Perform vehicle checks before setting off (brakes, lights, tires, fluid levels) and pack a breakdown kit that includes a flashlight, charged phone, jumper cables, first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, emergency flares, non-perishable food and plenty of water– plus any additional emergency items required by law in your state.
Plan your route in advance, allowing for regular rest stops in safe places; at least 15 minutes for every two hours of driving and more frequently if you feel tired. Even if you are using GPS it’s recommended that you familiarize yourself with the planned route before setting off to avoid confusion while driving.
Ensure the whole family buckles up. Children should seated in correctly-fitted car or booster seats – and pets should be properly restrained too.
Look out for others. Traffic can be heavy over the holiday period – and some road users might be unfamiliar with the roads on which they are traveling. Be prepared for vehicles stopping or turning unexpectedly. Be particularly cautious when traveling close to trucks – don’t let yourself be caught up in truck drivers’ blind spots and don’t cut in front of heavy trucks. It takes them a lot longer to stop!
Remember that maximum speed limits are not “target” speeds; they’re maximum limits in good conditions. Traffic, weather and environmental conditions impact on suitable speeds.
A three-second following distance is for good conditions. Increase it if traveling in wet weather or when visibility is poor. Be aware of your “escape route” when driving and when stopped at intersections.
Aim for a "distraction-free-zone" in your vehicle. Pack quiet toys/ tablets/ DVD players with headsets to help keep children entertained during long trips. Set up GPS before setting off and put your phone away or on silent – or give it to a family member to be your “designated texter”.
If you're drinking, don't drive. If you're driving, don't drink. It’s that simple. Don’t forget the morning after effect of drinking alcohol too – and remember that other drivers don’t always follow the rules. Be prepared for the actions of others and remember that driving defensively is the best way of keeping you and your loved ones safe this Independence Day Holiday.