It is the perfect time for a road trip! However, before you and your family hit the open road, take some time to prepare your car for travel. It can help with your car’s performance, as well as keep you safe on the roads.
Here is a road trip safety checklist to follow.
Road Travel Safety Tips
Accidents happen, but you can reduce the likelihood simply by planning ahead. Take breaks during long stretches of time, by getting out and moving about. Share the driving responsibility whenever possible and getting a good night’s sleep the night before so that you aren’t drowsy while driving. Sitting up straight in your seat in an erect position helps to keep you more alert.
Get in the habit of scanning the road for potential hazards while driving, particularly at night time (wildlife, for example, are more likely to cross highways in the dark).
If you must pull over, try not to do so on the side of the road and don’t exit the car unless absolutely necessary. If possible, get off at an exit. Turn your hazard lights on and make sure that you are visible to other drivers.
Don’t eat while you are driving. Save snacking for when you are stopped.
Road Trip Safety Checklist
Plan your route ahead of time, with GPS instructions and an alternate route in mind. It is a good idea to scan the route or have a physical, up-to-date map with you because GPS coordinates are not always accurate. In addition to planning your driving route, plan your stops along the way for gas and rest periods.
Share your itinerary as well as contact information with family and friends back home. Make sure that your phones are fully charged and consider bringing a portable battery charger with you so that you can make an emergency call if you need to. Plan to put the phone away while you are driving; take hands-free calls only.
Ensure your travel insurance is adequate for wherever you are travelling.
Road Trip Safety Essentials
Ideally, you will get from point A to point B quickly and safely, but sometimes things happen along the way. Follow this checklist to make sure that you’ve got what you need on hand in the event of an emergency. Make sure your car is equipped with road trip safety essentials:
- First aid kit
- Spare tire
- Small tools
- Non-perishable, high-nutrient snacks (i.e. granola bars)
- Candles and/or matches
Car Maintenance Before a Long Road Trip
Get a tune-up before you hit the road to identify any potential problems which might cause problems along the way. Get your oil and filter changed as well.
Pay particular attention to your tires, as warm weather will change your tire pressure. Fill your tires to get better gas mileage, top up windshield washer fluid and other fluids, and check your battery.
Ensure your lights are all working, especially headlights, brake lights and signals. It is a good idea to wash your car, inside and out before you leave home. Dirty cars are harder to see on the road, and you’ll be more comfortable.
Doing proper car maintenance before you leave can help you avoid many roadside summer emergencies, like a flat tire, overheating, or engine failure.
Things to Check Before a Road Trip
In addition to checking that your car is ready to go, ensure that you’ve got some other things taken care of like the expiry dates on passports. Make sure that you’ve got cash and a credit card handy. Any medication and prescription medications should be with you in the event your return is delayed. Check in with neighbours to let them know that you’ll be away and ask them to keep an eye on your house.
One thing that is often overlooked is turning the water off before you go away on vacation. You don’t want your home to experience a plumbing emergency and come home to water damage!
Travel Safely With Kids
Make sure your little ones are outfitted with sunscreen and sunglasses, even in the car. Never leave children unattended in your vehicle, even for a minute, as heat can increase rapidly. When you get out of the car, cover car seats in blankets so that they won’t be too hot when you return. Finally, ensure safety locks are engaged on doors and windows in the back seat.
Travelling With Pets
If you are bringing Fido or Fluffy with you on your road trip, make sure that you’ve planned ahead for their comfort and safety. Plan extra rest stops so they can relieve themselves and get exercise. Keep them hydrated and at a comfortable temperature. Don’t let dogs place their heads out of car windows because this is very dangerous, especially at high speeds.
There is nothing quite like hitting the open road for a car trip. Although your destination will be enjoyable, getting there is half the fun!