I recently attended a neighborhood watch meeting for my neighborhood. It's a great way for me to meet the new neighbors, catch up with long-time residents like me, and hear the safety concerns of others.
Our meeting leader invited a guest speaker from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) for a road trip safety talk, and I thought the information she shared was so helpful, our team should share the tips as well. It's the time of year where we often celebrate holidays by traveling to be with family and friends or they travel to be with us, escaping miserable winter weather to be in our sunny part of Florida. Traveling across the country or across town, safety should be kept in mind. If you prepare and practice your safe driving skills, getting there could be half the fun.
Here is the road trip safety checklist and tips from FHP:
BEFORE YOUR TRIP:
• Have a trip plan and let those at your destination know when you will leave and intend to arrive.
• Register your Emergency Contact Information with Florida Highway Patrol by clicking here.
• Check your vehicle:
Check all lights on your vehicle to confirm they are working properly.
Check vehicle fluids.
Check windshield wipers
Check tire pressure and tread.
Pack a flashlight and even flares or safety triangles in case breakdowns occur.
Keep water in the trunk in case of overheating
Make sure you have jumper/booster cables for a dead battery.
Confirm a spare tire is present in the vehicle and check the condition/air pressure.
Make sure you have a jack, all the tools needed and you know how to use them.
Keep your cell phone with you and pack a car charger to keep it on through the duration of your trip.
• Write down important phone numbers and keep them in your car in case your cell phone battery dies and you don’t have a way to charge it.
• Make sure to get plenty of rest before you set out on your trip.
• Check to make sure you have your driver's license, proof of insurance and registration or car rental documents.
DURING YOUR TRIP:
• Make sure all passengers are buckled up at all times. Children often like to lay across the rear seat when sleeping on long trips and get out of their seatbelts. Children should be in the proper child restraint seats at all times, more information can be found by clicking here.
• Be aware of changing speed limits. The limit in Florida will never be higher than 70 mph.
• Eliminate distractions. Keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road & mind on driving. Let your co-pilot help you navigate or change the music.
• Don’t drive drowsy. Take a break every 100 miles or two hours.
• Move over for stopped emergency vehicles – it’s the law!
• Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up.
• At stop signs or traffic signals, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.
• Don’t stop in underpopulated areas to ask directions. Travel on well-lit and busy streets.
• When you get out of your car, carry your purse and keep other valuables out of sight. Do not store valuables out in the open inside a parked car.
• Lock your doors when you leave your car, even if it’s for a short time.
If you need to pull over:
• Stop in a safe place, out of the roadway and away from traffic.
• Turn on your emergency flashers. If you have emergency roadway flares in your trunk, position them conspicuously.
• Raise the hood and tie a handkerchief to the aerial or door handle.
• If a roadside telephone or call-box is handy, use it. If not, sit in your locked car and wait for help.
• If a motorist stops to render assistance, it’s better to remain in the car and ask him to get help.
• Likewise, if you see a stranded motorist, it’s better not to stop. Notify law enforcement instead. (dial ∗FHP on your phone)
If you are involved in a minor crash:
• Do not get out of the car. Some criminals use a crash to get you to stop and get out of the car.
• Call law enforcement to report the crash. (dial ∗FHP on your phone)
• Lower your window slightly and ask the other party to phone the police or follow you to the nearest public area or a police station. If you’re suspicious that the crash was staged, drive directly to the nearest law enforcement office to report the crash.
Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing or witnessing an emergency situation.
Dial ∗FHP (347) if you would like to report drunk drivers, traffic crashes, stranded or disabled motorists, or any suspicious incidents occurring on Florida roadways.