A safe road trip is a fun road trip. While it is true that the best road trips do have an element of risk, it should be the fun kind that comes with visiting an oddball tourist trap or trying some interesting local cuisine. But there are some very real risks whose outcomes are no fun at all. Fortunately, those risks can be minimized through a little bit of careful planning. Keep these seven safety tips in mind when you are planning your Uganda Self Drive so that you can avoid common pitfalls and have a fun, safe journey:
- Make sure the car is in a fine condition;
A good self drive trip needs a reliable vehicle, so make sure the vehicle chosen for the trip is in sound mechanical condition. You’ll want to get the following checked as part of your pre-trip inspection; Fluid levels, Air filter, Brake pads, Wiper blades, Lights, Steering, Tires and wheels.
If you have any doubts about your vehicle’s condition, it’s always better to have a mechanic find them now than to discover them yourself when you’re in an unfamiliar area, miles from any kind of help. Note that reliable mechanics are mostly found in major towns some of which are away from the major tourists sites.
- Pack an emergency kit;
An emergency kit can save your road trip and perhaps even your life. Before you go, assemble a kit of crucial emergency supplies that includes; Road flares, Flashlights, Hand warmers, Tire changing kit, Spare tire, First aid kit, Blankets, Warm clothes, Jumper cables, Phone charger, Car charger, Fire extinguisher, Rain gear.
Keep your emergency kit in a waterproof bag in the trunk. Once it is there, you will have it when you need it the most. Do not get disappointed once you complete your trip without using any of what has been packed because you are already a victor – prevention is better than cure.
- Keep in touch;
Maintain communication with your network of friends and family while you are on the road. Make sure that someone outside your road trip crew has been informed of your trip’s destination and planned dates so that they can check-in if they do not hear from you.
However, this doesn’t mean you should use a cell phone with your hands while driving. If it is important for you to be able to answer calls, bring a Bluetooth headset, or use your phone’s voice assistant exclusively. Note that it is an offense to answer a phone while driving in Uganda.
- Don’t drink and drive;
There is not a single good thing to say about drinking alcohol and driving the two just do not mix! It is a guaranteed bad idea every time. Even a moderate amount of drinking significantly reduces your ability to operate a vehicle, meaning that drinking and driving is one of the fastest ways to turn a road trip into a nightmare.
If you decide to go out for drinks at night, pick a designated driver to get you back to where you are staying, alternatively, you can park your car and ask the hotel to drop you off or pick you up after your drink. And do not plan to get on the road before you have recovered because some studies have actually shown that driving hung over is not a smart idea either. Rested, alert and sober is the only way to do it safely. Also if caught driving while drunk can lead to penalties which might include cash payment or even an imprisonment.
- Follow the law;
In general, things will go easier on your self-drive trip if you stay within the boundaries of the law. By driving while maintaining the speed limit, not running red lights and generally obeying traffic laws, you will get all the fun of the road without the hassle and danger of tickets and/or police encounters.
This guidance also applies to one of the most frequently broken road trip rules: Wear your seatbelt. It might sound cliché, but seatbelts really do save lives, and you never know when a dangerous situation can arise, thanks to another driver’s negligence. Once you have put the seatbelt on, it is pretty easy to forget that it is even there – this is a world renowned number one safety measure.
Taking the appropriate safety precautions will make your self-drive trip more fun while helping to ensure that everyone gets home in one piece and without any legal troubles. At the end of the day, it is all about making the journey enjoyable and a safe journey will be the most enjoyable for everyone.
- Adjust your posture;
Make a conscious effort to sit up straight, because slouching can make you drowsy. People often sit too far away from the steering wheel and pedals. Actually your legs should be bent so you can exert strong pressure on the brake pedal, and your elbows need to be slightly bent so that you can use all your strength to turn the wheel if necessary. Failing to adjust your posture can to some extent lead to traffic accidents, making your self-drive trip a horrible one. This might sound as though basic knowledge known to anyone however most people actually do not apply it while on the road.
- Look away from lights;
Thanks to bright headlights of oncoming cars, you can be “blinded by the light,” as the old song goes. The eyeball has two types of receptors, and the ones working at night are extremely sensitive. Avert your gaze to the lower right shoulder of the road. Your peripheral vision will allow you to continue driving in the correct direction. For this reason, it is why we mostly advise clients not to drive after it gets dark. Some vehicles at night might actually appear like motorcycles especially in rural areas based on the fact that probably one headlight is broken. It might not be your fault that an accident at night might occur so, to avoid all the uncertainty, we encourage that you maintain driving your vehicle between 0600hrs and 1900hrs.