Global Health Transportation Travel Health

Road Accidents and Travel

When I think of an adventure trip, such as a week climbing, kayaking or mountain biking, I try to be prepared for all the problems that I might encounter.  A careful pre-check of my gear, a first aid kit and plan of what to do if something bad happens are all ways I decrease my risks, during my outdoor activities.  Wearing a seat belt and making sure I drive safely to my destination are some other things that help reduce one of the biggest risks to international and adventure travelers.

International Travelers often face a hidden risk that is not often though of, when they travel by road. Road Traffic Injuries are the leading cause of injury related deaths, worldwide. According to the US State Department, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of injury death in American Citizens when traveling internationally. Many travelers take steps to ensure a safe trip by preparing with vaccines, a health kit and some knowledge about their destination. Unfortunately, little though is given to safely traveling from one potentially risky and exciting event, to another.

A wonderful page at the CDC Yellow Book, about injury prevention, discusses tips for safe surface travel, internationally. Most of it seems to be common sense, but I admit that I am not always thinking about these things, when I am traveling.

  • Use safety belts and child safety seats when traveling.  These simple measures save lives.
  • Try to rent a larger vehicle for increased protection
  • Ride only in licensed and marked taxis and sit in the rear seat.  Consider offering the driver a tip if they drive in a manner you feel safe with.
  • Look both ways when you cross a street, anytime, anywhere
  • Wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, all the time
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Avoid driving at night, especially in unfamiliar areas
  • Check websites such as Association for Safe International Road Travel(ASIRT) for road conditions

The NaTHNaC (National Travel Health Network and Centre)also has a very good article about car crashes and the international traveler.  Hopefully, there will be a brief moment, when you are about to travel by road, when you think about your safety.  Nobody wants a car crash to ruin their trip, or worse.

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