There’s a lot to be said about taking a road trip. Traveling by car allows you to better enjoy the scenery and discover places that you might not find otherwise. It’s also a wonderful way to spend quality time with your family and friends.
Before you even leave your driveway, though, it’s important to consider the following safety-related advice. Unfortunately, no one is immune when it comes to the possibility of accidents or other types of tragedy. Being prepared, safety-wise, helps to reduce the chance of any problems.
Schedule a Tune-Up
Scheduling a tune-up shortly before you hit the road helps to ensure that you won’t have any major car repair issues. Pay a qualified mechanic to check your vehicle’s air conditioning unit, tires, battery and all belts and fluids.
If you’ll be towing a trailer or traveling through a hot climate, ask the mechanic if you should switch to a higher viscosity oil to keep the car’s motor running in tip-top shape.
Pack an Emergency Kit
It’s good practice to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. It should include items like:
- Non-perishable snacks
- Jumper cables
- Warm blankets (if traveling in cold weather)
- Basic tools (to change a tire)
- First aid kit
If possible, you should also include a fully-charged (spare) cell phone. You never know when you may need a backup.
“Child-Proof” the Backseat
In the event that you’re traveling with children, it’s imperative that you “child-proof” the backseat. If your vehicle is equipped with child safety locks, activate them. Remove any harmful substances which may have taken up residence on the floorboard, such as bottles of windshield washer fluid or oil. In addition, secure items such as toys and books, to prevent them from becoming flying projectiles should it become necessary for you to stop quickly.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
It should go without saying that if you’re going to be the driver, you need a good night’s sleep. Recent data indicates that sleepy drivers are a contributing factor in at least 100,000 traffic accidents per year. If you start to feel drowsy behind the wheel, stop at the nearest rest area or share the driving responsibility with other licensed passengers.
Block out the Sun
Yes, it’s a wise idea to wear sunscreen when riding in a car. Sunglasses and hats provide an extra layer of protection for little ones. When you exit the vehicle, cover car seats with blankets so they don’t get hot. It really doesn’t take long for everything inside to get hot enough to burn a child’s skin.
As the old saying goes, “it’s always better to be safe than sorry.” The last thing you want is for an accident of some type to ruin your vacation. Remember, staying safe on a road trip is just as important as staying safe when you utilize other modes of travel.
Performing the aforementioned tasks is recommended, a few days before the trip. This way, you won’t forget to do something at the last minute, when everyone is excited to get started.