Are you planning on taking a road trip with friends or family this spring? Road trips have always held a special meaning for our family. They have accounted for some of my most fond memories with my wife and 2 children, and making sure that we arrived at our destination safe has always been a top priority.
As a personal injury attorney, my experience has shown me the importance of being fully prepared for any situation on the road.
- Take your Vehicle in for a Tune-Up: When it comes to automotive safety, it is important to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. Things that I taught my kids when they were going on road trips during college were to change your oil, rotate your tires and check your lights. Before my family goes to Eastern Washington, I like to visit Jiffy Lube and Les Schwab to ensure that everything is working properly. Nobody wants to break down on the side of a highway and be stuck for hours waiting for help. Trust me, I speak from experience! As well, no one wants to be the cause of an accident, so make sure all your turn signals work and your tires are ready to roll.
- Get Some Sleep: Driving while tired is very dangerous and can result in an injury to you and also those driving near you. Before you head out, be sure to have a healthy breakfast and load up on your favorite snacks. I like to pack a sandwich or visit my local Starbucks on the way out.
- Plan your Route: Today, this is easier than ever, thanks to navigation apps. I personally like to use Waze, which is available on both Android and iPhone. It will actively be looking for the fastest route, updating even after your route has already started. Navigation apps will make you aware of any detours or accidents coming up so that you can avoid long backups.
- Have an Emergency Kit: If you run into issues on the road, it is important to be sure you are prepared and have an emergency kit. This includes things like water, blankets, road flares, jumper cables, and the proper tools to change a tire. Roadside emergency kits can easily be purchased at your local auto parts store, or you can create your own.
- Stay Current on Your Insurance: Before you head out, make sure to confirm that you have up-to-date insurance information, a valid driver’s license, and current registration. Having these items will keep you from getting unnecessary tickets that can put a damper on any trip.
Let’s face it, accidents happen. The events that immediately follow an accident are extremely important. If you are involved in an accident, be sure to turn on your hazard lights and pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road, if possible. Check all passengers for injuries to see if anyone needs immediate treatment.
Don’t forget to document any damage to your vehicle. I suggest using the camera on your phone to take photos or a video and narrate the damages on any vehicles involved. Notify the police of your incident and make sure to write down your police report number. Take down as much information about the other drivers and be sure it is all current. This includes driver’s license, full name, current address, insurance policy number, and license plate. Take photos of the other driver’s license and insurance information with your mobile phone. There is a more detailed list here on the DMV website.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in an accident caused by spring driving conditions, please contact me for information about your rights.