When you’re traveling by car out on some expedition or other, there are always risk factors. Being in a vehicle, there are things that can go wrong. And most people are aware of those common things, like a tire going flat for instance, or just a general car malfunction. But there are other risk factors of the external sort that are good to look out for as well, in the name of defensive driving.

Five of these risk factors that you should look out for, especially if you’re on the road for a long journey (like taking a vacation) include teen drivers, people on cell phones, cars tailgating, lousy road conditions, or distractions inside your vehicle itself.

Teen Drivers

For better or worse, teenage driving can be problematic. Teenagers have extremely limited experience driving, and often feel like they have something to prove in terms of either getting somewhere fast or looking cool as they’re driving. That means that you have to be the responsible and watch out for any cars with younger looking folks in the driver’s seat. That may sound like profiling a bit, but in the name of safety while traveling, it’s not a bad idea.

People On Cell phones

Driving while talking on cell phones is just a bad deal. There’s no more reason for it now than there was before cellphones were invented. So, if you see another driver driving while talking, sometimes even doing the hands-free thing, be especially careful around them. Know that their response speeds are going to be slower than they would be otherwise, and make sure that you drive especially defensively in their area.


One of the worst behaviors on the road in other drivers is tailgating. The dangers of tailgating are well-known, so it’s a two-step process for you to stay away from the consequences. First, you don’t tailgate. Ever. There’s no point to it, especially if you’re on your way to someplace relaxing. And second, if you see the person in front of you tailgating, give them extra room. That’s all there is to it.

Bad Road Conditions

Has it ever seemed like right before you head out on a major vacation, the weather gets bad somewhere along your chosen route? It could be torrential rain, or ice storms, or even mudslides. But if you have to drive through these conditions, go slow and watch out for the other impatient drivers out there!

Distractions In Your Own Vehicle

Make sure to minimize distractions within your own vehicle too. Many people enjoy having the radio on, and that usually doesn’t keep you from driving well. But having cell-phone notifications on, or movies playing, or stuff rattling around in the back can all break your concentration when you need it the most, especially on long drives.