Summer means driving with the windows open and cruising to new adventures. Before you head out on your next road trip, here are some summer driving safety tips to keep in mind.
The weather is starting to get hotter and more and more unbearable. The kids are about to be out of school and the air-conditioner is on full blast. That’s right, summer time is coming.
For many people, summer brings new adventures, lounging by the pool, and trips to the beach. And a lot of people are gearing up to go on road trips. Young people and families alike hop in the car and head of to new and (maybe) exotic locations. According to a recent AAA survey 80% of Americans plan to take a road trip as part of their vacation this summer.
Before you pack your bags and take a month-long tour of the country by car, there are some things you need to keep in mind. Making sure you have the right car for your road trip, and then making sure you’ve got all the safety things taken care of, is key before driving off into the sunset.
Making sure you have the right car for your road trip, and then making sure you’ve got all the safety things taken care of, is key before driving off into the sunset.
Depending on your lifestyle and the type of road trip you’ll be taking this summer, your car needs will be different. If you’re taking off in your RV to travel the country's’ top state parks, you’ll want to make sure you’re car is towable. Or if you’re a family of 5, you’ll need to make sure the car has enough room and amenities for all of your needs.
No matter what road trip you have planned, these are some universal summer driving tips and safety precautions that will make sure you have a great time guaranteed.
Picking the Right Car
Like I mentioned before, depending on your lifestyle and the trip you’re taking, you’ll have different car needs. One tip to remember is picking the right size of your vehicle of choice. You may be renting a car specially for the trip, buying a new one, or just going with what you already have.
No matter what the situation, always take into account the size of your car and your needs. Chances are you’ll need a bigger, sportier model that can hold everyone plus luggage. A lot of cargo space is also a must.
Be aware of the features that you have in your car too. It’s good to have a model that has plenty of outlets for charging devices and phones. If you have kids, a TV screen or two wouldn’t hurt when you’re making the long trek. You can even get fancier features like built-in coolers if that’s something that’s important to you. And if you are buying a new car, keep in mind the resale value in case you want to sell it late on.
Also, if you’re planning on pulling a trailer behind you, make sure you know your car's towing capacity. Having a big trailer full of stuff but no way to tow it is not a good way to start your adventure. Inversely, if you want to be able to tow your car, check to make sure that’s possible. Not all cars can be pulled behind a bus or an RV.
Before You Go
Safety should be a big priority on a road trip, similar to picking the right playlist to accompany you on your journey. A lack of proper safety precautions could throw a wrench in your entire summer. Follow these safety tips before you take off.
Have your car checked ahead of time. It may have been a while since your last oil change or checkup. It can’t hurt to have the car looked over and be certain that everything is in working order. Some maintenance issues you might want to check include engine oil, other fluids, and tire pressure.
Have your car checked ahead of time.. It can’t hurt to have the car looked over and be certain that everything is in working order.
When you’re packing up all your gear for the trip, be mindful of how much and how you’re packing. Too much weight or blocking your lines of sight are safety hazards. Try to distribute the weights as evenly as possible and know the weight and height limits of your rack if you have one.
Also, before you say hello to the open road, pack some safety tools with you. It’s a good idea to have an emergency kit with bandaids and other first aid items. You should also pack plenty of snacks and water just in case you break down on the side of the road. Throw in a flash light for good measure and any medications you might need.
During the Trip
While you’re cruising down Highway 66, or wherever your road trip of choice takes you, there are some other tips to keep in mind. First off, know your route and plan out stops ahead of time. Being adventurous and going without a plan is ok, but at least have some kind of back up plan or general destination in mind.
Another summer travel safety tip is to take regular breaks. You’re not a robot and you can’t drive 8 hours straight without some fatigue. Driving for too long of periods could lead to an accident.
The CDC reports that drowsy driving causes roughly 72,000 crashes per year. You should also rotate drivers so that no one person has to do all the work. This will help keep you on track if you’ve got a tight schedule and can’t afford to take long breaks.
Keep in mind that kids can often be the number one distractions on road trip, which can also lead to an accident. Take extra precautions to keep them and yourself safe. Clearly explain to your kids that they shouldn’t disturb you while driving. Also have them stay in their seat belts during the trip. Having in-car entertainment for them is a great way to keep them occupied and avoid the dreaded, “Are we there yet?” question.
Keep in mind that kids can often be the number one distractions on road trip, which could lead to an accident. Take extra precautions to keep them and yourself safe.
Lastly, be mindful when using cruise control. It’s a handy little feature, but it can easily cause you to lose control or get sloppy with your driving. Use it carefully and if you feel that you’re starting to lose focus, turn the cruise off and bring your mind back into the activity of driving.
Summer car trips are always a great time and create fond memories. They can be some of our best adventures and most memorable moments for years to come. When embarking on a summer cruise, make sure you keep in mind these summer driving safety tips.
You can never plan too much or take too many safety precautions when it comes to driving, especially if it will be for an extended length of time. Keep these things in mind before and during your summer vacation to ensure that good, safe fun is had by all.