In 2020, airplane travel is way down. People aren’t eager to fly with the pandemic still in full swing. They’re worried about being in an enclosed area with others, and that’s easy to understand.
Covid-19 is bringing back long business car trips. Many meetings can happen now via Zoom and similar services, but some companies still insist on in-person project consultations.
This means that car rentals are up and some executives are logging more road hours than usual. If you are one of them and don’t mind driving, then it’s probably fine for you. However, you should be aware that more driving also means a higher accident likelihood.
Let’s examine the ways that more business-related driving sometimes results in more accidents.
You’re in Unfamiliar Territory
When you look at common causes of car accidents, one of the more prevalent ones is that the driver is out of their element. If you’re used to driving in your city, you might get nervous if you’re in heavy traffic in a completely unknown area.
If you’re a good driver, then you’re a good driver anywhere. If you’re not the best driver, though, and your company asks you to travel thousands of miles via car, you’re probably not going to be too comfortable in an unfamiliar city. That’s especially true if you’re suddenly on a ten-lane highway with eighteen-wheelers honking at you.
To avoid accidents in these situations:
- Try to stay calm and breathe
- Concentrate on the road and any vehicles around you
- Don’t adjust the radio or do anything else that might distract you
You Might Speed
If you must take a lengthy car trip for work, then you might not feel thrilled about it. Maybe you don’t like driving much, and this is the first trip of this sort that you’ve taken in years, or ever. You may want the experience to be over with as quickly as possible.
That might mean that you start speeding to try and get to your destination as soon as possible. That’s never a good idea. Speeding:
- Gives you less reaction time if a car stops ahead of you
- Makes it more likely you’ll get a ticket
- Can turn a dangerous car wreck into a fatal one
You want to get where you are going fast, but you still need to obey the speed limit. Try to listen to some music or a podcast to relax you. You’ll get to where you’re going eventually, but speeding to try and make it there faster is never a good idea.
You Might Have a Rental Vehicle
It’s highly likely that you got a rental vehicle for your work trip. If you’re a great driver, then that might not be an issue. However, if driving isn’t your favorite thing, and you don’t do it that often, then being in an unfamiliar vehicle won’t exactly fill you with happiness.
The steering and the feel of the vehicle might be slightly different from what seems normal to you. If it’s an SUV, then you may be higher up off the ground than usual. The reaction time when you brake or turn the wheel might be a little different.
Maybe all the rental agency had available was a stick shift, and you’re out of practice. The vehicle’s size might throw you off if you’re used to driving a much smaller car.
You’ll have to be cautious as you drive, and take some time to learn this new vehicle’s layout. Hopefully, by the time you get closer to your destination, you’ll be a bit more used to its feel.
Distracted driving is something that causes a lot of car accidents anyway, but it’s even more likely to happen when you’re on a long work trip. It’s most likely a combination of things: you might be trying to figure out how to change a radio station, adjust a navigation app, or perhaps you’re trying to use Bluetooth to take a call.
Any of that means you could take your eyes off the road for a couple of seconds, and sometimes, that’s all it takes. If you’re on the highway when you’re doing these things, and the car in front of you stops suddenly, you could easily slam into them if you’re attempting to put a new route into Google Maps.
If you have to adjust something in the car, try to pull over to the side of the road and do it. It might slow you down, but it’s better than getting in an accident.
Another more thing to watch out for if you’re on a long business trip is fatigue. You might have a full driving day ahead of you, and by the time it’s winding down, you’ve been on the road for many hours. You want to get to where you’re going, so you press on past your normal limits.
The issue here is that if you’ve had too much caffeine or you’re trying to cover the last hundred miles to get to your hotel, your reaction time probably isn’t the greatest. You’re demanding a lot of yourself, and it’s in these moments that you might make a driving mistake.
If you feel like you’re almost out of energy or need a little break from driving, find a spot to pull over and recharge. Go into a gas station bathroom and splash some cold water on your face. Get a cup of hot coffee if you need a little pick-me-up on the home stretch.
Driving cross-country might not be your favorite thing in the world, and ideally, your bosses won’t ask you to do it very much. It’s far easier for you to take that Zoom meeting so you can avoid all these situations.
We all have to work, though, and if driving is a small part of the job, then that’s what you’ll have to do. Just be sure to remain as safe as possible when you’re out there on the road.
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