What did your most hectic commute look like? Or your worst travel experience?  In the weeks since my last post, I’ve had a few mishaps while commuting to, or traveling for, work. I ran into more car trouble than I care to remember, tripped over my own gym bag while running into the office, and had an embarrassing run-in with airport security. So, I’ve been left wondering—what could make my morning commutes and my future travel experiences run smoothly and safely? After talking to my team about my troubles, I wrote out these five basic principles for commuting and travel safety.

1.     Don’t Ignore That Check Engine Light
I just bought my first car, a used VW bug, and I’m still getting used to the regular maintenance it requires. I hadn’t had to worry about any car issues while growing up out in the woods. Just this last week I got stuck on the side of the tollway after I’d neglected to change the oil and ignored the check engine light. From now on, I’ll be getting this little buggy looked at on a regular basis.

2.     Keep Both Hands On The Wheel
Texting and combing your hair while you drive is never a good idea. I find myself doing so whenever I don’t have the time to get ready in the morning, or am just being careless. I actually got into an accident recently, and was ticketed for reckless driving because I was distracted by my phone. Now, I keep my phone off and in my center console while I drive, and I do all of my grooming before I leave the house.

3.     Watch Your Step
While boarding a DART train in the rain last month, I tripped on my sandal and nearly broke my toe. Clearly, I had been rather naïve to wear sandals while it was raining. Where I grew up, you don’t have to worry about shoe safety at all since you just stomp around barefoot all day. But, for the sake of my toes, and the safety of those around me, I’ll be sure to always wear appropriate shoes so I can keep my feet on the ground.

4.     Don’t Bring Liquid Or Sharp Objects To The Airport
I flew to Clear Lake recently to visit and help out with a communications project. Unfortunately, I brought a few items that didn’t make it onto the plane. Apparently swords, jacks pieces and spray cheese have no place at an airport, and let me just say the TSA agents were not impressed. I’ll be sure to check their security guidelines before the next time I fly.

5.     Never Carry More Than You Can Handle
I recently tripped over my gym bag while I was rushing into the office. Luckily, I didn’t fall into anyone. My long limbs and towering stature have always left me prone to accidents. I wasn’t even allowed to play sports in college because I was a danger to everyone. My long limbs hampered my hand eye-coordination.  Going forward, I’ll be sure to be more mindful of how many belongings I’m carrying as I walk into the office.

Whether I’m on my way to work, or when I’m catching a flight, there are always safety scenarios to look out for. Being ready for them is not just about what I do while I’m actually commuting or traveling, but how I prepare for those things ahead of time. It’s like what my old friend Smokey the Bear used to say, “Always be prepared for anything.” Now, post some of your own mishaps commuting and traveling, and share the steps you’re taking to stay safe in the future.