Summer is a time for road trips. The best way to make sure you have a great time is to prepare in advance and remember some simple road trip safety tips.
1) Pack an Emergency Kit
You never know what the open road has in store for you: flat tires, minor injuries, a dead battery, etc. Make sure you are ready to tackle whatever the highways or Mother Nature has in store for you with a well-stocked emergency kit. If you already have a kit in your car, check the contents to make sure they are all fresh and ready to go.
2) Plan Your Route
A spontaneous trip is fun, but you should still have a good idea of where you are going and the best roads to take to get there. Plan your route both on GPS and on paper maps. This way you will have directions even if you do not have cell phone reception.
If you are driving in a group, make sure every car has a navigator familiar with the route. Plan several stops where everyone can catch up and take a break.
3) Designate Alert and Sober Drivers
Every car should have at least one alert and sober driver at all times. Intoxication and drowsiness can lead to loss of control and endanger everyone in the car. Fatigue can set in easily, especially when driving on long stretches of highway. Make sure your drivers take adequate breaks or switch off every hour or so to avoid becoming drowsy or fatigued.
4) Follow Heat Safety Rules
You are vulnerable to the sun even when in the safety of a car. Make sure everyone stays hydrated during your trip and uses sun protection like sunscreen and sunglasses.
If your car does not have air conditioning, check on your passengers to ensure everyone is doing ok with the air from the windows. If anyone shows signs of overheating (pets included!), stop at an air-conditioned store or rest station.
5) Avoid Distractions
Car games are a great road trip pastime, but only passengers should play them and do so quietly as not to disturb the driver. Ask your front seat passenger to take care of the interior controls such as the A/C and radio so you can keep your hands and attention on the wheel. Avoid distractions like phone use, distracting conversations, and attending to items or people inside the vehicle.
6) Know When to Stop
Do not let the driver push himself to make it to the next destination if he is feeling tired. If your driver becomes fatigued and you are not near a motel, pull over at a safe area like a rest stop and allow him to take a quick nap or switch drivers if someone else is alert and willing.
Road trips are supposed to be leisurely, so know when to stop for breaks and take your time — half the fun of a trip is getting to the destination!