Family road trips are a great way to explore the outdoors together. They also mark milestones before a child officially leaves the nest and marches toward adulthood. To make a family road memorable, it’s important to exercise caution on the road.
If you travel during the summer months, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that fatal motor vehicle accidents are more prevalent from June through August.
The following are seven things you should know to keep your family road trip safe.
1. Know the State of the Vehicle
Some vehicle accidents are unavoidable. It’s impossible to control the actions of other drivers. Freak accidents that are no one’s fault occur too. However, you can take steps to ensure your vehicle is in good shape before you head out on the road.
Schedule your vehicle’s tune-up the week before your family road trip begins. If it requires maintenance, you can take care of it promptly. For example, a professional can rotate the tires, top off the oil, and check the other fluids.
Replacing the spark plugs, air filter, and setting the ignition timing are other vehicle tune-up services professionals complete, especially if you let them know you’re taking the car on a trip.
2. Know the Essentials to Pack
During your family road trip, you might make several stops to see landmarks, have lunch, and take bathroom breaks. In-between stops, you might drive several stretches where there are no gas stations, fast-food restaurants, or rest stops, so plan accordingly.
Before you hit the road, stock the car up with the essentials, such as snacks, water, and travel mugs. Pack over-the-counter medicines for allergies, vitamin nutrition, and motion sickness too.
Store your driver’s license, insurance information, and car registration information in the car’s glove compartment for easy access. You’ll need these items if you’re involved in a car accident and require an attorney. This article provides additional information.
Also, pack an extra tire, an extra set of keys, and your roadside membership card.
The number of essentials you pack should correlate with the number of days on your trip. To avoid overloading the vehicle, schedule a stop where you can re-stock.
3. Know How To Minimize In-Car Distractions
Your kids are going to experience restlessness at some point during the family trip. Plan for those moments by packing entertainment, food, and crafts for them. Your goal is to find ways for your kids to entertain themselves while minimizing in-car distractions.
In addition, hand the navigation duties over to a family member, including your smartphone. Your focus should remain on the road at all times. If your kids are having too much fun in the backseat, ask your navigation helper to calm them.
Once you reach a rest stop, let them know that they can stretch their legs.
4. Know Your Itinerary
Some families use their road trips to wander across the United States. It’s an expansive country that offers mountain, ocean, and desert scenery. For safety reasons, plan a tentative itinerary for your family’s road trip.
You should know where you’ll be sleeping during the trip. Planning allows you to make reservations at hotels or campsites. If there’s no availability, you can alter your route before hitting the road.
5. Know When to Rest
As you plan your itinerary, schedule rest. Every driver must sleep at least six hours before taking the wheel. The National Safety Council found that 100,000 vehicle crashes involve fatigued driving annually.
Since you’re heading out as a family, ensure there’s at least one other driver who can tag-team the driving responsibilities with you.
6. Know About Driving Safety Tech
The technology market is full of high-tech gadgets that increase driving safety. A GPS guide, magnetic car mount, and car dashcam are some items that make driving safer.
You might also consider picking up a portable car charger, cell phone signal booster, and LED road flares.
7. Know the Car Maintenance Tools to Pack
As you pack the car for your family road trip, ensure that you take a car maintenance kit that contains a screwdriver, wrench, and wire cutters. You also need the equipment that allows you to change a tire.
It’s not a good idea to pack gasoline, but you can pick up car oil. Don’t forget a first aid kit, work gloves, and a couple of rain ponchos.
Family road trips are great bonding opportunities. By packing the essentials, ensuring the vehicle is in good condition, and planning an itinerary, the trip can become a memorable experience. These things that you should know also keep you safe while on the road.