The Southern US is one of the most extraordinary places on Earth. Friendly people, fantastic food, and diverse sights, sounds, and attractions intertwine to create a veritable goldmine of incredible travel destinations, and it’s no surprise that millions of Americans and other travelers choose to visit the Southern States each and every year.
From the jazz bars and creole cuisine of New Orleans to the rich musical history and vibrant culture of places like Memphis and Nashville, the South has such a lot to offer, which is why one of the best ways to visit this part of the world is on a road trip!
Taking a road trip around the South allows you to visit multiple destinations over the course of a few days or weeks, taking your time and plotting out the perfect itinerary or going with the flow however the mood takes you to see all the big sights and hidden gems of states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and South Carolina.
However, it’s also important to note that road trips aren’t without their risks. Any time you set off on a cross-country trip or long-distance journey, you need to take the proper precautions and show great care and consideration in all you do to make sure that trip goes smoothly and enjoyably, without any issues along the way. Here are some top safety tips to help you have the best Southern road trip.
Know the Rules
Given that there are close to 6 million car accidents occurring in the US every single year, knowing the rules of the road and obeying them to the letter is obviously a must-do whenever you set off on a road trip adventure.
This is especially true when visiting different states around the South, as the rules of the road can be a little different from one location to the next.
It’s up to you to do some research, noting down the different speed limits and regulations in each state and adjusting accordingly as you travel around. Be sure to always obey the limits and practice safe sensible driving by stopping at red lights, using your turn signals, and keeping your distance.
Learn Defensive Driving Skills
Defensive driving is a term used to denote the different driving techniques and tricks you can utilize to defend yourself against the sometimes reckless and negligent actions of other road users and keep everyone safe.
An example of defensive driving might be keeping a set distance away from the vehicle in front of you, or doing your best to stay away from blind spots of trucks, vans, and other vehicles around you.
You probably know a number of defensive driving techniques that you’ve picked up naturally over the years, but you can also head online or take classes to learn new skills to make use of in the future.
Packing is an essential part of the road trip process, and it can be one of the most boring parts of the process too. Few people truly enjoy ticking items off checklists and fitting all of their bags and boxes into the car, but this is something that needs to be done, and it needs to be taken seriously.
An improperly packed car can actually be quite a hazard to you and other road users. If you have a big stack of bags in the back, for example, you might not be able to clearly see vehicles behind you.
Similarly, loose items rolling around could cause noisy distractions that make you less focused on the road, or those items could come flying forwards if you happen to brake suddenly, so it’s vital to pack with care and make everything is properly in its place.
Try to Stay Calm
The folks of the South tend to be friendly and welcoming for the most part, but, just like many other places on Earth, some of the locals can get a little angry out on the roads. In fact, certain Southern States have been ranked among the worst for road rage in the US.
It’s easy to get frustrated if another driver swerves right in front of you, brakes without warning, changes lanes without giving a signal, or acts in an irresponsible and reckless way.
However, giving in to your anger will only make things worse. Basic logic dictates that angry drivers are more likely to get into accidents as their decision-making abilities become impaired and they tend to lose focus too, so try to remain calm and collected instead.
Avoid Distractions at All Costs
Distracted driving is one of the biggest issues on America’s roads today, with studies and statistics showing that thousands of lives are lost each year, purely due to the inattentiveness of distracted road users, with thousands more people being injured due to looking at their phones or trying to eat while driving.
These kinds of activities must be avoided at all costs. So, while it might be tempting to sneak a peek at your phone to check for any new messages or try and drink a cup of coffee while you drive, it’s always best to pull over safely instead of trying to multi-task.
There are lots of potential distractions in your vehicle, from your phone to your GPS, your food and drink, the music you choose to listen to, and even your passengers or any pets that happen to be coming along for the ride. Be sure to stay in control and keep your focus on the road around you at all times.
Road trips are always exciting and are quite clearly one of the very best options for anyone wanting to explore the amazing South, but it’s vital to prepare properly. Accidents happen every day and they’re more likely to happen to you if you’re visiting places you’re not so familiar with and trying to navigate roads you don’t know. Keep these tips in mind to have a safe road trip.