As Snowbirds begin to make their way across country seeking warmer climates, the risk of accidents is heightened. What starts as an adventure can end in disaster. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on your way to Florida this year.
Safety begins at home. Before you leave, there are steps you can take to maximize your safety.
Now that you’re on your way, life is good. You want to keep it that way so try following these simple tricks.
1. Secure your belongings
You are in your home between homes. It can be easy to forget to close windows and lock doors when you stop somewhere. After all, you won’t be gone long. Who would target nice people like yourselves? Unfortunately, criminals are not nice people like you. They are hoping you will leave the door of opportunity open to them. Five minutes is plenty of time to lose a lot of your valuable items. Make sure to fully prevent others from coming in while you’re out. Never leave valuables in plain sight. Even loose change can be a temptation to someone desperate. Don’t leave electronics or music in the open. The emptier your vehicle looks the less enticing it will appear.
2. Avoid cash
While cash may seem a quicker or more convenient way to pay, it’s not the safest thing to carry. You don’t want to have a lot in your vehicle. Stopping at banks frequently is also not very feasible. Traveler’s cheques are not much safer than cash. While they can be traced after being taken, they are easily stolen and converted to cash. You’ll still be without necessary funds while the police investigate such a theft. The smartest travel tip for financial safety is to use a credit card or a bank card. With most people using them today you won’t stand out as a target to thieves.
3. Keep in touch
One area of safety that gets neglected is to keep loved ones aware of your location. Choose a family member or close friend to check in with. You may wish to call every evening with an update on your progress. Provide a specific location such as Joe’s Truck Stop just east of Madison. You’ll also want to let them know your planned direction of travel the next morning. This will give others a good starting point should they ever need to find you. The more people you notify, the better. If you use social media accounts, you may want to post updates on your day’s journey online as well. Make sure to leave a message if you can’t reach anyone. Whatever time or method you choose, include the check-in as a part of your daily routine.
4. Pet safety
For many people, pets are not just an extension of the family; they are family. If you are bringing your pets with you, you want them to arrive safely. Pulling off the side of the road to walk them can be dangerous. During highway travel, look for rest areas that have designated pet runs. These are increasingly common. This will be a fenced area for your pets to be refreshed in safely. No leash is required in most cases. These rest stops also provide a special watering area for your pets. When you need to stop in cities or towns find a local park. Read all posted signs. Where possible, check city ordinances to make sure your pet is welcome there. An easy way to do this is to find the local Chamber of Commerce or tourist office. Wherever you walk your four footed family member, always be a good citizen and clean up after them.
5. Park within sight
When you have an RV or larger vehicle, you may find yourself needing to park on the outskirts of a lot. Whenever possible, however, try to park where you can keep an eye out from inside the business you’re visiting. It’s alright to ask for a seat or location that will give you a better view. While there may be few people who would steal an oversized vehicle, there are many who might mark it as a quick and easy robbery. Your caution might just deter a crime.
Safe driving is important to all. Applying these next ideas can help you make a soft landing in Florida this year.
1. Follow traffic signs
This may seem obvious but it is essential for travel safety. What is legal in one place may get you a ticket in the next. Border areas can be especially tricky so be alert when crossing county and state lines. Following the rules of the road is not just the responsibility of other drivers. Everyone shares a part in the task of keeping each other safe on the highways and byways. It has been said that you should never drive like you own the road; instead, drive like you own the car. That advice is twice as good for an RV or motorhome.
2. Don’t navigate while driving
Some people plan every detail of their trip before they leave their summer homes. Others prefer to fly free and meander on their journey to Florida. Either way, it’s best not to be navigating while driving. Discussing which turn to take ten feet before it comes is not the best idea. A better way may be to plan each day’s direction before getting on the road. That extra time spent can be well worth it down the road.
3. Be weather conscious
As you travel, you may need to adapt to changing conditions. Simple precautions can make a world of difference. Keep a pair of sunglasses on hand for brighter days. They will also be helpful if you have to drive into the setting sun. In bad weather, be prepared for delays and possible detours. Reduce the recommended speed in poor conditions. A good rule for driving in rain is to drop your speed by 5 miles an hour. Snow requires even more cautious handling.
4. Don’t drive while tired
This cannot be said too many times. If you feel like you need a break, take one. Switch drivers whenever possible if you are concerned about time. In any case, feel free to pull over as often as you need. Truck stops abound and are one of the safest places to stop while traveling. Truckers are generally very welcoming and happy to see you resting rather than driving. Your safety impacts not only their safety but their job as well. If you can’t find a truck stop near enough, keep an eye on the road ahead and pull off as soon as you can. Whether you only need a short break or a full nap, obey your body and refresh yourself before getting behind that wheel again.
5. Relax and enjoy the ride
Don’t hurry. It’s easy to get involved in the rushed feel of traffic when driving. To automatically shift into racing gear and compete for the fastest lane. What’s your hurry? Slow down and feel sorry for the poor folks still hurrying to and from work, soccer practice or recitals. You worked hard for your retirement; take it easy and indulge in the scenery. Follow both the speed limits and reasonable caution for the size of your vehicle. Most of all, have fun!
Despite your best efforts, an accident may still happen. What should you do then? The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to be in it alone. Don’t be afraid to call an attorney right away. You need someone who will be on your side. Attorneys can help you step by step through the entire process – from blame to claim. They will help you navigate all the paperwork and cut through any red tape. Make sure you choose a law firm that has the experience you need. Look for one with a professional staff of attorneys dedicated to auto accidents. Neufeld Law Firm has the attorneys on hand that can help you in your time of need. Contact them today!
As you Snowbirds head out this winter, keep in mind these tips for safe travel.