Road Trip!

The U.S. has developed an amazing web of highways that criss-cross our wonderful nation. Americans often set out on long road trips to visit family or see new sights. But sometimes highway driving can be monotonous. Those of us who are old enough to remember road trips before DVD players and iPhones, played games to pass the time. So, the next time you go on a road trip, you might play a game to keep your mind alert. Since you’re a safety pro, you could play “Spot the Hazard.”

Hazards that affect other people:

Have you ever been driving in a warm part of the country and seen a shipping container that’s being used as a storage shed? At a glance, it seems like a good example of repurposing. But take a moment to think about it: shipping containers aren’t designed to store everything. Most shipping containers are uninsulated, have very limited ventilation and have no cooling system. On a warm, sunny day, it could get really hot in the container. It would be a bad idea to store flammables in that environment—even if you had them in a storage cabinet designed to hold flammables.

Hazards that affect you:

Did you see that deer at the edge of the woods on the side of the highway? Each year, deer cause over a million accidents, some of which are fatal. You can’t control the actions of a wild animal, so you need to be alert, especially when you drive at dawn, at dusk, and at night. Deer strikes increase in the fall, when careless young bucks are looking for mates. Slow down and drive the speed limit. Actively scan the road and the sides of the road. Make sure your seat belt is fastened at all times. Stay alert so you’ll be able to react quickly to prevent a strike.

Hazards that affect everyone on the road:

Have you come across another vehicle that can’t stay in one lane, won’t maintain a consistent speed, and/or moves through traffic as if the driver is drunk? Did you know that 800 people are injured in accidents involving a drunk driver every day? It’s not always alcohol that impairs drivers: sleepiness and fatigue can be just as problematic as alcohol. If you see a driver and you suspect he or she is impaired, take a moment to get the license plate, color, and make of the car, and the direction it’s traveling (better yet, have a passenger do it), then pull over and call 911. Your actions might save a life.

"Spot the Hazard” doesn’t have rules on scoring or how to end the game, but you can consider yourself a winner when you get to your destination safely.