Most of us know that spending time with family on holidays means having to travel in some form. Whether it be by car, plane, or any other form of transportation, make sure you get to your destination safety by considering these safety tips:
Make sure your phone is charged.
- Keep your cell-phone or other media devices fully charged prior to travel, this may be your only source of information or communication in the event of an emergency. Consider alternative power source options to keep it charged on-the-go (auto, solar, pre-charged, crank & wind).
Travel Documents and Patient Care Information
- Passports, Identification Cards, Tickets and Boarding Passes, are just a few that we always plan on. Don’t forget the documents that we don’t plan on using… Medical and dental insurance cards, a list of current medical history including medications, allergies, special orders, medical device setting cards and other documents that can provide health care providers life-saving information in the event of an emergency.
Remember to pack extra Medications
- You may find yourself delayed on the road or at your destination for hours, days, or longer. Traveling can already be stressful for many, this is not the time to run out of your prescribed medications or searching for a drug store to fill your scripts. Plan for the unexpected, give yourself peace of mind, and don’t put your health at further risk.
Get plenty of rest the night before.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that about 100,000 reported crashes a year are caused directly by driver fatigue. Studies even show that driving tired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence. It’s a disaster waiting to happen, and it’s easily avoidable!
Check the weather.
- Is there a chance your flight could be delayed/cancelled? Is it worth driving through a blizzard? You should ask yourself these kinds of questions before you leave and have an idea of what course of action you will take if caught in a dangerous weather situation.
- Make sure your fuel tank is full, and don’t let it get too low while you’re out on the road.
Know your route.
- We mean know your route. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary danger because you aren’t really sure where you are going. Have a map, have a printout, have your GPS, whatever it takes.
Avoid distracted driving.
- Avoid the urge to check roads on your phone while driving. Pull over if you need to and never text while driving. If your phone has a "Do Not Disturb" feature that auto-responds when you receive a text while driving use it.
Make sure your vehicle is well maintained.
- Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights, and windows. This will help you see and help people see you! Check your oil, tires, and engine before long road trips.
Pack a winter safety kit for your car.
- If you are driving where there are threats of winter weather, this is important. Things you may want to include in your kit are an ice scraper, jumper cables, antifreeze, sand/cat litter, blankets, flashlights, matches, tea-light candles and a first aid kit.
Decide on a designated driver (DD).
- If there tends to be drinking at your family get-togethers, and you will be driving home shortly after, then someone in the car needs to commit to being the DD. If you are the DD, that does not just mean you just stop drinking early. It means you will not drink at all. Be responsible!
Give your full attention to the road while driving.
- This doesn’t just apply to the obvious application of checking your phone. There is a long list of things you shouldn’t be doing while you’re driving. Avoid trying to read a map, eating, or anything else that will take your eyes off the road.
- Need we say more? Not only is it the law, it could save your life.
Pay attention to and obey speed limit laws.
- This seems like a given, but when we are in a rush, this sometimes goes by the wayside. Of course, you are more likely to get into an accident if you speed. Also, there’s nothing that will ruin your holidays quite like a hefty ticket, or worse, a bad car accident.
Take turns driving.
- If you are driving with other people, it is not a bad idea to rotate driving shifts, especially if you are getting drowsy. Making short but frequent stops will also go a long way in helping you with fatigue.
Keep your phone or other media devices charged in case of an emergency.
- If you break down or have any other kind of emergency, you will need your phone to call for help. You still should never use it while driving though.
Are you planning to come to Austin for your family vacation this year, or to attend a special event like SXSW or ACL? Well, you aren’t alone. Every year, 19.7 million people visit the Texas capital. There are plenty of lists out there that will clue you in on the best spots around town, but the most important list you will read is this one. Austin-Travis County EMS has created this safety list for those who are visiting our great city, and for our own citizens who may be traveling.
ATCEMS key travel tips and information:
First and foremost, know before you go!
A good start would be staying updated with what is happening around the city. You can follow us @ATCEMS on Twitter for real time, breaking news updates from Austin-Travis County EMS
It is important to pay attention to weather events as well (you can look for these using #ATXWX). Note that Texas has a high humidity rate in the summer, so the temperature may be misleading. Always pack appropriately for the climates you’ll be visiting and stay hydrated.
Let someone know where you will be, and what time you’re expected to return.
- In case of an emergency, it is important that family and friends know where you are. This includes giving them the address and phone number of the hotel you are staying.
Have a plan and familiarize yourself with the city as much as possible.
- You should have a map of Austin, like this one, that includes hotel locations, transportation services, tour information, restaurants, and more so you can be organized. It also allows you to search for spots near you!
How do you plan to get around the city?
- Austin may feel like a small college town, but it is a big place. Check local bus routes and parking information so you can get around like a pro.
Know where the local hospitals are located.
- No one wants to have to use them, but unfortunately, we usually don’t have a choice in the matter. Be aware of the location of the hospital that you would go to in an emergency.
Know the emergency, non-emergency, and information numbers at your destination.
- Call 9-1-1 in an emergency, use 3-1-1 for non-emergencies. You can use 2-1-1 for other resource related information such as health care or disaster information. These numbers apply only to the city of Austin. If you are in another city, check for the numbers used in that area once you arrive.
Peace of mind is essential too. ATCEMS has at least 38 ambulances in operation around the county at any given time. If you are in town for a special event, there will likely be more on-duty. If all else fails, know that we always have your back.