It’s warming up out there and summer is officially here. Now is the time to start planning that family road trip you’ve been talking about all year. You’ll want to spend some time mapping out your trip and many stops along the way but before you pack your bags and load up the ice chest with juice boxes, take some time to get your vehicle ready for a safe and hassle-free drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers some handy summer travel safety tips to help you get the most out of your time on the road this summer.
Before heading out on the open road, the NHTSA encourages drivers to check for vehicle recalls they may not be aware of. Vehicle owners can use the NRTSA VIN look-up tool that identifies safety recalls issued within the last 15 years. You can visit: www.nhtsa.gov/recalls to see if your car is on the list.
After checking for recalls your vehicle should be serviced. A quick tune-up, oil change, battery check, tire inspection and tire rotation will get your vehicle in top condition. Also ask your service technician to check the air conditioning, wiper blades, lights, spare tire, belts and hoses to keep your vehicle safe, comfortable and running properly.
If you don’t already have one be sure to pack an emergency roadside kit. The NHTSA suggests that drivers have the following items onboard:
Cell phone and charger
First aid kit
Flares and a white flag
Tire pressure gauge
Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
Work gloves and a change of clothes
Basic repair tools and duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak)
Water and paper towels for cleaning up
Nonperishable food, drinking water and medicines
Extra windshield washer fluid
Emergency blankets, towels and coats
If you are going to be traveling with young children be sure that car seats and booster seats are properly installed. The NHTSA recommends that all children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat for maximum protection. They also warn drivers not to leave children alone in a car —not even for a few minutes or with the engine running. A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than that of an adult. Even if the outside air temperature is in the low 80s°, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just a few minutes. Also be sure to lock your vehicle when exiting this will keep your belongings safe and will prevent children from playing in and possibly getting trapped inside.
Once you are on the road, always practice safe driving behaviors such as staying under legal speed limits and wearing your seatbelt. When traveling long distances it is a good idea to take frequent breaks from driving for a group stretch, getting something to eat and drink or switching drivers. These few actions will go a long way to keep you and your family safe, comfortable and happy during your summer adventure on the road.