California offers some of the world’s scenic routes. From the classic Pacific Coast Highway to the legendary Route 66, the state’s highways offer an unforgettable driving experience. Yet, long drives come with their fair share of risks. Before getting lost in the excitement, some preparation can help you reach your destination safely.
Don’t underestimate taking breaks
Drowsy driving is risky enough, but traveling for a long time without enough rest could amplify that risk. Depending on where you drive, you could be on the road for at least half a day. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep the night before. Consider appointing someone to take over at certain points.
You may be too tired to drive if you’re dozing off, yawning a lot, have trouble remembering the last exits or start making driving mistakes. Taking a quick 20-minute nap can boost alertness, but any longer could make you groggier and sleepier.
Additionally, the stops along the way are what make these road trips enjoyable. So be sure to take a break at least every two hours and use the time to take in the view. Stretch your legs, hydrate and do whatever is necessary to keep going.
Don’t forget about general safety
Embracing the freedom of road trips doesn’t mean overlooking safety. Practicing defensive driving is still a must. Buckle up your seatbelt, maintain a safe distance from the car ahead and respect speed limits to prevent mishaps.
Staying focused on the road is crucial. Distractions, such as loud music, eating and drinking or conversing with passengers, may compromise your driving safety. Moreover, the flow of traffic can change at certain times, or you might encounter vehicles that suddenly stop or swerve. By keeping your eyes glued to the road, you’ll be ready to react effectively to unexpected situations.
In case of unforeseen incidents, having emergency roadside assistance numbers readily available is a smart move. Additionally, vehicle collisions on freeways can result in devastating injuries. Establishing who is at fault will be crucial in determining who pays for damages.
Expect rough weather conditions
California’s long roads don’t just come with picturesque views. They also present harsh weather conditions. Coastal highways could mean dense fog that drastically reduces visibility. Meanwhile, some freeways often have rainfall that can lead to slippery road surfaces, increasing the risk of hydroplaning.
In such conditions, drive slowly and refrain from making sudden maneuvers. Other drivers may have trouble spotting you and cause an accident.
Reduce your risk by being prepared
Long drives can put your stamina and driving abilities to the test, often requiring you to adapt to changing and potentially hazardous conditions. However, with thorough planning, defensive driving and strict adherence to traffic rules, you can safely appreciate the beauty of California’s highways.