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4 ways to make your upcoming road trip safer

Through planning ahead and knowing and abiding by the law, people in Illinois going on road trips can prevent traffic accidents.

Whether traveling for holidays, taking a vacation or hitting the road to visit family and friends, it is essential for people in Illinois to be aware of the risks involved with long-distance travel. Spending an extended amount of time in a vehicle can be physically exhausting and a mental drain. People do it, however, because it can be cheaper than purchasing airline tickets and more accommodating when there is a significant amount of luggage.

There are several ways to make a road trip safer, and those are the following:

1. Plan for breaks

Drowsy driving is a serious threat for anyone who has been behind the wheel for a significant number of hours. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2014 alone, 846 people lost their lives due to a car accident related to someone who was too tired to drive.

Through planning out the trip and taking breaks, drivers can stretch their legs, drink a cup of coffee and get some fresh air, each of which can help them feel refreshed. Those going on long trips should also consider having multiple people who can share driving responsibilities. Anyone planning to drive should get between seven to nine hours of sleep to ensure he or she is fully rested.

2. Stay focused

After a few hours on the highway, it can be tempting to allow the mind to drift. This is clearly dangerous, as it means the driver is no longer paying attention to traffic patterns, road signs and surroundings. Someone who feels he or she is growing distracted should switch off with another driver or pull over until it is safe to resume driving.

3. Know the laws

Traffic laws vary from state to state, especially when it comes to distracted driving. For example, Illinois law bans texting while driving as well as makes it illegal for anyone to use a handheld device behind the wheel. Surrounding states have laws that differ, however. Generally, it is safe to assume the driver should never focus on anything except the road ahead, stowing a cellphone away until the vehicle is stopped.

4. Get the car checked out

In the days leading up to the trip, it is a good idea to take the car into a trusted mechanic to check tire tread, oil levels and other fluids. Additionally, a mechanic may be able to spot a potential defect with the car. This can prevent an untimely and extremely inconvenient breakdown.

Abiding by the law and planning ahead can make a trip run smoothly. People who wish to learn more about topics related to this should speak with a personal injury attorney in Illinois.