For many of us, summer is the perfect time to take a vacation and get some much-deserved rest and relaxation. And low gas prices mean taking a summer road trip is even more convenient. But before you hit the open road, be sure you and your car are prepared for safe travels.
- Plan your trip. Use an online map or GPS service to determine the best route and know when and where to expect construction and other delays. Print the directions as backup. Be sure to allow for time to pull over at rest stops to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
- Prepare your car. Either you or a mechanic should inspect your vehicle to ensure it’s ready to hit the road. This includes checking: tires’ inflation and tread; the engine, battery, belts and hoses, and fluids; turn signals, brake lights, and headlights; and windshield wipers.
- Plan for the unexpected. Know your options in case you find yourself with a flat tire or engine problems. Consider enrolling in a roadside assistance program or check with your insurance provider to see if they offer any roadside assistance options.
- Take turns driving. Driving long distances can quickly take a toll on motorists. If you’re traveling with other adults, ask them to share driving duties with you, and plan a few rest stops along the way. Remember, drowsy driving is just as dangerous as distracted driving.
- Drive smart. This means no texting, talking on the phone, playing with the radio, tailgating, or anything else that could cause a serious accident. Remember, distracted driving is extremely dangerous. If you need to make a call or check a map, either ask a passenger for help or wait until you can safely stop your car.
- Pack a roadside emergency kit. You can find pre-packed kits at many auto stores, but you can easily make your own. Make sure your kit includes jumper cables, a working flashlight, and plenty of bottled water.
- Fuel your trip. Bring snacks and drinks to keep yourself and your passengers happy and alert. And while eating while driving can be tempting—especially when you’re in a hurry to get to your destination—it also can be incredibly dangerous. Take a few minutes to enjoy a meal in a restaurant or rest stop.
- Keep the kids happy. Road trips can be challenging for kids—and parents—so bring plenty of snacks and car-friendly activities, such as coloring books or movies, to keep your little ones occupied.
- Safety comes first. Always fasten your seatbelt and insist your passengers do the same. If you’re traveling with children, make sure all child safety seats are properly installed in your car.
Summer Road Trip Resources