We love that travelers embrace their sense of adventure and are always ready to pick up and go. However, it’s important to stay safe out there.
Whether you are driving a short distance to a new assignment or cross country, take time to prepare. Statistics show that approximately 1-in-3 American drivers are affected by vehicle breakdowns totaling around 189,000 per day throughout the United States. If you are stranded, it’s helpful to have a roadside assistance plan. Companies such as Travelers, State Farm, and even AT&T offer several plans that vary in cost and benefits. Check out this recent ranking of the top providers here.
You may also have a roadside assistance plan with your vehicle from the dealer such as Onstar. While these options offer better peace of mind, remember that response times can be long and sometimes you may be out of range or in a dead zone for communications.
It’s also important not to be over confident because you have a cell phone. No doubt, smart phones have changed our lives immensely and give us instant access to nearby service stations, tow companies, and first responders. Just remember that poor cellular coverage, bad weather, less than stellar GPS and other unexpected forces can quickly diminish the reliability of things we rely on every day.
Here are some important safety tips to help you stay safer on the road:
Make sure your vehicle is up to date on service. For example, recent oil changes, washer fluid levels, quality wiper blades and check the tire pressure—especially the spare.
Take advantage of technology and share your smartphone location with a trusted friend or family member. Also let them know when you plan to leave, arrive, and the intended route you will travel. Be sure you have an emergency contact clearly labeled in your phone contacts.
Always be aware of your surroundings when stopping for gas, food, or visiting rest stops. Try to make your stops during daylight hours and choose well-lit areas if it’s nightime. Avoid carrying a bag, or purse or anything that appears valuable that could be tempting for someone to snatch. Consider carrying a personal alarm and check local laws if you want to carry a personal defense item such as pepper spray. Trust your instincts, if something seems off, go somewhere else.
Plan your route ahead of time. It might seem exciting to be spontaneous to just pack the car and go, but it’s safer if you plan in advance. Print out your directions for a hard copy back up or take screen shots in case you lose service or GPS navigation along the way. Estimate when and where you will need to take a break, eat, or refuel to ensure you are in a populated area with amenities. Use your favorite APP like Waze to test different routes and departure times in order to factor in traffic and construction delays.
Start out well rested and stay focused while behind the wheel. Especially if it is a long trip it’s easy to become distracted which can lead to accidents. Ensure you have snacks and drinks easily within reach while driving. Set up your favorite playlist in advance or download an audiobook. Resist the urge to have long conversations while driving and never text or surf while behind the wheel.
Be better prepared for a breakdown or emergency situation with these important items:
- Charged cell phone and portable charger
- First-aid kit
- Fire Extinguisher
- Three reflective warning triangles and safety flares
- Spare tire or foam tire sealant
- Jack and lug wrench
- Jumper cables
- Waterproof flashlight and extra batteries
- Duct tape
- WD40 or lubricant
- Tow rope
- Utility knife
- Rain poncho
- Drinking water
- Nonperishable snacks
- Warm blanket, gloves
- Tissues/toilet paper
- A white cloth to signal your vehicle is not abandoned if you leave
- Snow shovel
- Cat litter as sand for traction
- Ice scraper
*depending on the time of year and climate, you can swap some of these items in and out as weather requires.
Keep an eye on your gas tank level. Use your navigation app to identify the distances to filling stations and ensure you have enough to get there. Never push it to the last minute, you may find the gas station is out of order or closed-especially if you are traveling late at night.
Unfortunately, there is a very good chance you will pass a disabled vehicle along your trip and it’s important to adhere to laws enacted to decrease fatalities on the roadside. Many states require drivers to safely move over a lane (if possible) for emergency vehicles, tow truck drivers, any disabled vehicle stalled on the side of the road with hazard lights on, vehicles displaying emergency flares or signage that are on the side of a highway.
If you do have a problem with your vehicle, stay calm and think carefully about the situation. Emotional reactions can sometimes lead to poor choices and injury. Be sure to pull off the main travel lane as much as possible. Do not attempt to walk across traffic or linger in the travel lane. Turn on your emergency flashers and use your supplies to mark your vehicle so others can see it day or night. Note your location and call for assistance. Safety experts agree that under most circumstances if you are able to pull away from traffic, it is safest to remain in your vehicle until a law enforcement officer or road service provider arrives. For a more comprehensive review of tips to travel safely and what to do if you breakdown, download this AAA PDF.
Stay safe and keep going, from the entire team at Go Healthcare Staffing!
Ready to get on the road again? Find a new and exciting travel assignment today. Visit our jobs board to see available job opportunities.
Andre brings 15+ years of corporate and healthcare staffing experience to our team. Along with his work ethic and professionalism, Andre’s “just a genuinely great guy” to work with. In working with Andre, you can be assured that he will listen to what’s important, he will ask questions and he will have your back in every situation.