Whether you plan on traveling to The Last Frontier or are currently a resident, trekking down Alaskan roadways can be a complicated task to do. Even skilled drivers can have difficulties driving these roads! If you want a successful trip through Alaska, be sure to pay attention to the defensive driving tips and defensive driving techniques that follow.
Always be prepared. You might not know when a snow storm will hit! Make sure you carry an emergency and a first aid kit in your vehicle at all times. You might also want to consider having the following items:
If you are traveling with children, make sure they are properly restrained. According to NHTSA in 2007, traffic crashes are the leading cause of injury and death in children between the ages of 0 and 15. If you don't know how to properly buckle up your child or would like to find a list of manufacturers for car seats and booster seats, you may do so Here.
Be mindful of wildlife. Moose, deer, caribou and all other animals have the right-of-way in Alaska and are bound to be seen on the roads at some point in time! Be sure you are paying extra attention to the sides of the road and make sure there are no creatures in sight. Wildlife have the tendency to show up when you least expect it.
Slow down! If you're looking at a sign that tells you the speed limit is "45 MPH", that is the absolute maximum speed you should drive on dry pavement. If you are driving during the winter time, you should go slower than the speed limit posted. ALWAYS drive as fast as is safe.
Take an Alaska Defensive Driving program. Not only will you learn the basics of driving, but you will also learn defensive driving tips and defensive driving techniques you may not have known prior. These courses are also great as refreshers or for new drivers.
Do NOT use your cell phone while driving. Talking on your cell phone alone reduces your reaction time because you are taking your mind off what you are doing. Texting while driving will cause you to take your eyes, mind, and hands off the wheel, causing you to be 23 times more likely to get in a car crash. Always exert your full attention to the roadways.
If you are sliding, turn into the slide. Be sure to train yourself to turn the proper direction when sliding. For example, if you begin to slide to your right, turn your wheel to the right. This seems odd or wrong at first, but doing this will be the quickest way for you to regain your control of your vehicle.
Read the Alaska Driver Handbook. Even if you obtained your driver's license many moons ago, it is always great to refresh yourself on the safety laws in Alaska. This handbook will also be helpful to those who do not travel down Alaskan roads and highways very often.
Yield to other motorists. If you are driving during winter or when the roads and highways are blanketed in snow and ice, you will find it is extremely difficult to stop quickly. If you don't yield to others and tailgate, you increase your chances of causing an accident. If another motorist is tailgating you, pull over to the side when it is safe and let them pass.
Before traveling down the roads of The Last Frontier, you can always check up on road conditions and receive updates and information. Be sure to call (907) 273-6037 or (867)456-7623. To find additional information or help, visit 511.Alaska.Gov.
Don't forget: Additional Alaska defensive driving tips and defensive driving techniques are available through an Alaska Driver Safety Course.