Touring is a part of every musician’s life, planning shows and making fans across the country and around the world. When you’re spending that much time on the road, safety is essential to make sure that you’re reaching your destination safely. What do you need to do to stay safe while you’re on the road?
Maintain Your Tour Vehicle
Beaten up old vans are pretty much synonymous with bands on their first tour, but you’re only as safe as the vehicle you’re driving. You can make the most out of even the roughest used car, as long as you take the time to maintain it. Keep it in good shape. Check your tires for wear, check or change your fluids regularly, and have it inspected by a professional mechanic to make sure that it’s not going to break down while you’re trying to get to the next gig.
Keep the Party Off the Road
We get it. The goal is to have a good gig and then to have an even better after-party. Rock on, party animals, but if you’re drinking or otherwise impaired, stay off the road. More than 30 people die every single day from drunk driving-related crashes. You won’t get the chance to hit it big if you become a statistic. Party all you like, within reason, but don’t get behind the wheel until you sleep it off.
No Distracted Driving
While drinking and driving is dangerous, it isn’t the only hazard on the road. It’s also one of the most prevalent risks when you’re behind the wheel. In 2014, law enforcement cracked down on texting and driving around the country. Across the four day event, they issued more than 16,000 tickets. Don’t pick up your phone when you’re behind the wheel. If you need to reply to emails or talk to someone about your next gig, hand the phone to someone else.
Park Smart and Secure Everything
The only thing worse than getting into a car accident while you’re on tour is parking your van for a gig and coming back to find someone’s broken in and stolen everything. Be smart about where you park and keep everything locked and secured. You may even want to invest in a gear cage for the back of your van. Most thieves are looking for an easy score, so if they have to go through steel bars and a padlock, they’ll likely leave you be.
Don’t Drive Tired
The life of a musician is fast-paced and often exhausting. You finish one gig and have to break down your gear, pack it up, and get back on the road in order to reach your next destination. Whatever you do, don’t drive tired. According to the Sleep Foundation, driving after being awake for 24 hours is roughly equivalent to driving with a 0.10 blood alcohol level.
Be Smart After an Accident
Accidents happen, no matter how careful you are. During a pandemic, things change a little bit. You still need to contact the police, stay at the accident scene, and gather as many details as possible. Keep your mask on while talking to the other driver, and maintain a safe distance, even when passing along information. Then contact your doctor, even if you’re feeling mostly ok. Last, contact the venue and tell them if you’re going to be late, and don’t be afraid to cancel the show if it will have a negative impact on your health.
Stay Safe Out There
Driving is usually the most cost-effective way to reach your gigs when you’re on tour, but it isn’t always the safest. Thankfully, keeping yourself safe while you’re touring doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be as simple as making sure you’re well-rested and that your vehicle is well-maintained.