Summer seems to go hand in hand with the road trip. Families load up their cars and travel cross states, or even cross country, to visit friends, extended family members, or just see new sites. Many television commercials will begin airing depictions of friends loaded up in a car and headed out on a road trip adventure while the weather is warm. At times, spontaneity will be the seed of adventure but having a few key elements checked off first might make for a smoother trip with fewer hiccups.
First, before loading up and heading out on the open road, make sure that your car, van, SUV or RV is up to par. If you’ve been putting off that oil change or neglecting the check engine light on your dashboard, now would be the time to get those things taken care of. Tires need to be checked for good air pressure and tread wear. Make sure you have a spare tire and that it is in good condition. A good rule of thumb for tread wear on tires is that if its worn down to 1/16 of an inch then they need replacing. Once the tires are determined to be in good condition check the wiper blades, the fluid levels (a quick lube station will do this for you too), make sure the air conditioning is functioning properly and finally, that all the lights are working. Nothing puts a damper on the fun of a road trip quite like breaking down in the middle of nowhere.
Second, if children will be traveling along with you remember that all children under the age of 13 should sit in the back seat. Car seats and/or booster seats should be double checked for proper installation and that each child has the seat best suited for their safety. Remember to never leave children in the car unattended. In summertime heat cars can become dangerously hot very quickly…even if the engine is left running. Children can be affected by heat stroke very easily, especially very young children.
Third, stay alert! Be sure to plan pit stops throughout your journey in order to insure that all adults driving the vehicle remain alert and focused on the drive. Having short breaks to stretch your legs can be helpful to any children in the car and can aid in keeping the adult drivers from experiencing too much fatigue. If needed, find a place to rest overnight and continue your traveling the following day. Fatigue is not the only cause of not being alert while driving. Various distractions can take the focus off the road and lead to possible catastrophe. If driving with other adults, a good preventative tip would be to assign the duties of aiding child passengers to the adults that are not driving at the moment.
Fourth, remember to buckle up. Make sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up every time they are in the car.
Fifth, make sure you are prepared for an emergency. Even after all the preparation made before leaving on the road trip that we mentioned earlier in this article, things happen and you can find yourself in an emergency situation. Make sure you have a first aid kit in the car. Other items that might be helpful would include: drinking water, flashlight, jumper cables, food, work gloves, a jack for changing a tire, and some basic repair tools.
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