Driving Safety Tips for Teens and First-Time Drivers on a Long Distance Trip

Freedom! Adventure! A long-distance trip is very different when you are the driver. There is a lot to do to make sure your trip is fun, memorable, and safe. Let’s go through what you need to know.

The first thing you should do is make sure you and your vehicle are ready for the trip.

    • Check and top off your coolant, oil, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid.
    • Check your tires’ tread and air pressure. Don’t forget to check the spare.
    • Make sure necessary tools to change a tire and jump off a battery are in the trunk.
    • Prepare a season-appropriate emergency pack with bottled water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. If you are traveling in cold weather, also consider things like extra socks, hand warmers, and a warm blanket.
    • If there have been any unusual sounds, glitches, or a check engine light, get those checked out before the trip.
    • Make sure the floor mats are not bunched under the pedals and that there is no extra clutter on the floor. They can lead to issues braking and accelerating at critical moments.

Then I recommend checking your license. Check your expiration date, and make sure you carry your license and insurance when you go on a trip. Traveling without a valid license in any state carries heavy penalties!

It is also a good idea to have a lawyer in mind in case of a mishap along the way, so if Southern California is on your route you should know an accident attorney San Bernardino (or one elsewhere more relevant if you’re on a different journey). You might consider yourself a careful driver, however; long car journeys can be tiring and cause mental fatigue which can lead you to make accidents or lapse your concentration. Even if this happens for a few seconds it can increase the chances of an accident. When you factor everyone else in the same position, it’s best to cover all outcomes and have a legal expert in mind to help you with any legal issues that arise from a potential accident.

Driving is exhausting, especially over long distances. Make sure to take an experienced and responsible driver with you to take turns, take over when you get foggy or drowsy, and help you navigate without being overly distracted. If you are a teen and you will be traveling in the early morning or evening, make sure to take a fully licensed individual over the age of 21. Most states have a strict curfew for unattended driving, and you must abide by that law even if you do not live in that state. Zutobi has driving information for each state which is really helpful to read through before a road trip in the US.

Also make sure to learn your route well in advance. A GPS system can only do so much. Before you go, make sure to do the following.

    • Write or print out directions to your destination. That way you can refer to it if your GPS fails or you are unable to utilize the one built into your phone. GDL laws are strict about hands-free driving for teenagers.
    • Plot places to take a break. You should get out every two hours or when you start to lose focus on your driving, whichever comes first. Plotting outbreaks and destinations will help you get that breather before 20-mile bridges or long stretches of nothing. You can also save money on places to sleep by looking for special offers and booking before your trip.
    • Check the weather. If your route is going to run into potential storms, blizzards, high temperatures, heavy fog, or other driving hazards, brush up on your safe driving tips for each one so you will be prepared.

What to Watch Out For on a Long Distance Trip

Watch out for drowsy and distracted driving. These can lead to poor reaction speeds and a greater risk of accidents.

    • Turn off all distractions
    • Have a stimulating playlist handy
    • Avoid the temptation to turn your eyes off the road when talking to people in the car
    • Take breaks every two hours or when your attention starts to drift, whichever comes first.
    • Take turns with a driving buddy, especially if you are new to long-distance travel.

Be ready to adapt your driving to harsh weather, new terrain, and a random animal running into your path. If you are a very new driver, a defensive driving course can help you prepare for all sorts of scenarios before the trip.

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

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