Risk management

Fleet safety series

Take safety with you on vacation

It is only natural for a person to try to pack as much fun as possible into the seemingly short weeks of vacation, but the soundest advice you can offer your workers as their annual leave approaches is: “Don’t overdo it!” 

Some years ago the military authorities, analyzing the record of traffic accidents suffered by their enlisted men, found that the greatest number of fatalities and serious injuries occurred when they were returning to their base from annual leave. 

Apparently this was the result of their custom of crowding as much activity as possible into their leave of absence, staying until the last possible minute, and then driving like mad to get back to duty before the final hour. 

But the rush to get back home is not the only dangerous segment of vacation driving. 

“Easy does it” is the rule for vacation time. Peace of mind enhances the enjoyment of traveling more than frantic pressure to cover more miles with little appreciation of the route covered. And peace of mind can be destroyed by worry over failure to take care of essentials beforehand. Vacation planning is the answer. 

After choice of destination, study detailed maps and choose the best route, with due regard to planned stops at interesting spots along the way. Make note of places where your route will change, and determine as definitely as possible the exact point where you’ll switch from one highway route to another. Don’t make the mistake of studying maps while you’re driving. 

Planning your vacation includes getting everything shipshape at home, so there’ll be no worry about things that need attention while you’re away. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your property, or leave a key with them so they can get into your house if necessary. 

Make a check list of all items you need to take care of ahead of time. Above all, make sure your car is in the best possible condition for the trip. Have your mechanic give it a tune-up, and be sure to have him check tires, brakes, lights, wipers, suspension and steering. Ask the garage service department to point out anything that might need attention on a long trip. 

When you’re packing the car, don’t forget essential emergency equipment, such as basic tools, jacks, tow strap, flashlight, flares--and don’t forget a first aid kit. Don’t place hard objects on rear window shelf, and don’t pile luggage so high on the rear seat that it will block visibility. 

When everyone’s aboard and you’re ready to start the trip, there’s one more thing to remember before turning on the starter—fasten your safety belt and see that everyone else does the same. Get in the habit of doing this every time you enter the car. Statistics prove that belted passengers are less likely to be injured in a crash. 

Now you move out and go on your way at a comfortable speed (within posted limits) and you can enjoy the scenery as the others do, but keeping your attention always on your driving job. Stop every couple of hours to stretch and walk around a bit. Drink a cup of coffee or soft drink—but never alcohol, which cannot be mixed with driving. 

Get your day’s driving stint, never more than 400 or 500 miles, finished before dark and bed down for a good rest. If you plan to use motels, you’ll avoid worry and needless fatigue by writing or phoning ahead for reservations. 

Don’t hang up your safety consciousness in the locker with your work clothes. Take safety with you on any outing and in everything you do.


Insurance products and services are offered through Markel Specialty Commercial, a business division of Markel Service Incorporated, policies written by one or more Markel insurance companies. Terms and conditions for coverage may vary by state.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.