Travelling by road, whether for leisure or necessity, is an integral part of life. However, the safety aspect of road travel often gets overshadowed by the excitement of the journey or the urgency of reaching a destination. Proper preparation before embarking on road travel is paramount to ensure not just the safety of the travellers but also of others sharing the road.
Road safety is a crucial aspect of travel that cannot be overstressed. Annually, thousands of accidents occur due to negligence and unpreparedness, leading to casualties and significant property damage. Preparing properly for road travel minimises risks, ensures a smooth journey, and upholds the responsibility every driver has towards road safety.
Planning your route before setting off is a step typically overlooked in the rush of travel. However, this pre-planning can save time, reduce stress, and importantly, allow for safer travel.
By knowing your route, you can avoid dangerous roads, understand traffic patterns, and identify rest stops for breaks, thus reducing the likelihood of fatigue-related incidents. Today’s technology offers a plethora of tools and apps for route planning, making this task easier and more efficient than ever.
The condition of the vehicle is perhaps the most critical factor in road travel safety. A thorough check before departure can prevent many common causes of breakdowns and accidents.
The vehicle’s braking system is its primary safety feature. Before travel, ensure that the brakes are responsive and in good working order. Any signs of spongy brake pedals, unusual noises, or delayed response need immediate attention.
Tyres are the only contact point between the vehicle and the road, thus their condition directly impacts safety. Check for adequate tread depth, which should be no less than 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire circumference. Also, ensure that the tyre pressure is according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
A vehicle’s engine requires oil for lubrication, cooling, and overall efficiency. It’s crucial to perform a regular check of vehicle oil, but you should also do it before a long trip. So, check the oil level and top up if necessary. Also, check other fluids like coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. These fluids are essential for the vehicle’s operation and can prevent overheating and mechanical failures.
Ensure that all lights and indicators are working correctly. This includes headlights, brake lights, reverse lights, and turn signals. Properly functioning lights are crucial for visibility and communication with other road users.
Good visibility is vital for safe driving. Check that the windscreen wipers are in good condition and replace them if they are worn. Also, ensure that the washer fluid is topped up.
Before embarking on your journey, it is essential to ensure that all mirrors – rear-view and side-view – are adjusted to provide the widest field of vision with minimal blind spots. The rear-view mirror should give a clear, central view of the road behind, while the side mirrors should be adjusted to just see the edge of your car.
Being prepared for emergencies is an often-overlooked aspect of road travel preparation, yet it’s crucial for safety. Alongside the basic toolkit and first-aid kit, it is advisable to carry additional items:
- A torch (preferably wind-up so as not to rely on batteries);
- A reflective warning triangle;
- A high-visibility vest.
It’s also wise to have a fire extinguisher designed for vehicle use and a blanket or warm clothing in case you’re stranded in cold weather. A bottle of water and some non-perishable snacks can be a lifesaver in situations where you might be stuck for an extended period.
Another crucial aspect of emergency preparedness is the knowledge of basic vehicle repair and first-aid procedures. Understanding how to change a tyre, jump-start a car, or administer first aid can make a significant difference in an emergency situation. Additionally, ensure your mobile phone is fully charged or have a car charger on hand, and consider a portable power bank as a backup.
Road travel, while common, carries inherent risks that can be significantly mitigated through proper preparation. By planning the route in advance, checking the vehicle’s technical condition, and being prepared for emergencies, travellers can ensure a safer, more enjoyable journey. If you want to learn more about preparing your vehicle for a long trip, Additional information on the website autodoc.co.uk can help you ensure your safety.