A road trip can be a great way to bond with your family and explore new destinations. With the kids off school and the sun shining, summer is the perfect time to go. There is an endless list of places to visit both here in Arizona and across the country. But before you fuel up and pack the car, read these tips to keep the whole family safe while having fun.
1. Get your vehicle serviced
Make sure your vehicle is up to date on all manufacturer-recommended maintenance like oil changes, tune ups, battery checks and tire rotations. This will drastically reduce your chances of a breakdown while on a long journey.
Consider scheduling a preventative maintenance checkup with a trusted mechanic shortly before you depart for your road trip. Make sure the mechanic checks your tires, belts and hoses, lights, wiper blades, cooling system, fluid levels and air conditioning.
2. Make hotel reservations
For multiple-day trips, chose where you’ll stop for the night ahead of time and make hotel, motel or campsite reservations. This will take the stress out of finding lodging at the last minute.
By planning ahead, you can also make sure you don’t have to drive too much on any certain day. Driving drowsy is a major hazard, and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is a factor in 90,000 crashes a year.
3. Pack an emergency kit
Breakdowns do happen, even to cars with impeccable maintenance records, so it’s imperative you pack an emergency roadside safety kit in case you get stuck in the middle of nowhere. The NHTSA suggests the kit include the following items:
- Cellphone and charger
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Tire-pressure gauge
- Glove and a change of clothes
- Basic tools
- Water, food and medicine
- Blankets, towels and coats
4. Keep the kids safe
Whenever you’re driving with children, take all the necessary precautions to keep them safe. Make sure all car seats and booster seats are installed correctly and fit your children properly. Children 13 and under ride in the back seat. Never leave a child unattended in a parked car, and lock your car when exiting to prevent children from playing in your car and potentially becoming trapped inside.
5. Don’t drive distracted
Driving on unfamiliar roads with your family in the car, it is easy to become distracted by your navigation system, phone or your passengers. But distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents. To reduce distractions from your phone, consider investing in a hands-free stereo receiver with cellphone connectivity. If you do need your phone for navigation, consider giving it to a passenger to control while you drive. Avoiding eating, drinking, grooming and other activities that take your eyes or mind off the road.