American drivers spend more than 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year, according to a 2016 survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Stay safe behind the wheel with these CCFR-approved tips.

  • Obey the rules of the road; assume that others will not and practice defensive driving. Keep an eye out for potentially dangerous drivers, pedestrians and animals.
  • Plan ahead; use a GPS or other navigation aid, and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Stick to major roads whenever possible; on long trips, make sure someone (not in the car) is aware of your planned route and update them on your progress throughout the drive.
  • Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy — lights and indicators, windshield wipers, brakes, steering, exhaust system and tires should all be carefully examined and maintained.
  • Don’t get stranded without gas — make sure your tank is full and you know where you can go to refuel.
  • Take breaks every two hours or so to avoid driver fatigue. Plan breaks in well lit areas, and if possible, trade off with another driver.
  • Remain alert and avoid distractions such as eating, texting, etc. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
  • Always wear your seat belt and make sure everyone in the car is wearing theirs, too!
  • Be visible — drive with your lights on.
  • Pass other vehicles only when you can do so safely; maintain a safe following distance (increase this distance at night, in foggy/rainy conditions or when the road is wet). Be mindful of other driver’s blind spots.
  • In the event of an emergency, try to avoid stopping on the highway. Have numbers for roadside assistance and other emergencies close at hand or saved on your cell phone, so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
  • Keep essential roadside equipment with you as many breakdowns are caused by relatively minor problems. Items include a first aid kit, spare tire, hazards, flares and fire extinguisher.
  • In the event of an accident, determine the extent of the damage/injuries and assess whether medical attention is required.
  • Take a picture with a camera or mobile phone and file an accident report with the police as you will need a case number for your insurance company to file a claim. Remember to get names, addresses, telephone numbers and ID numbers of everyone involved in the accident