Summer is here and that means this year’s summer vacation is right around the corner. But are you ready to hit the road? You may have packed everything from bathing suits to toothbrushes for the entire family, but it can’t hurt to be sure. Use these tips to prepare for your family road trip and make sure it is as enjoyable as it can be.
- Check Your Vehicle
Before leaving for your trip, make sure your car is ready to make the journey. Take your vehicle to your local mechanic (someone you trust of course!) to ensure that everything is working properly–including tires, battery, belts, fluids, and air conditioner. If you plan to travel to a hot climate, or plan to tow a boat or trailer, check to see if you need motor oil with a higher viscosity.
- Be Mentally & Physically Prepared
When planning a vacation that will require a lot of driving, it is essential you get a good night’s sleep. Statistics show driving while drowsy is a contributing factor to over 100,000 accidents every year. Be cautious when driving and plan to switch drivers every few hours if possible.
- Bring A Safety Kit
Every car should have a safety kit in case of an emergency. It is hard to predict everything you may need, but some basic supplies include water, warm blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, a tool kit to change a tire, a first aid kit, snacks, and a phone charger.
- Prepare For Sun
People often forget to pack enough sunblock and sunglasses for every member of the family, and be sure to apply it before you leave. Sunburn can happen while you’re driving, too.
- Buy A Roadside Assistance Plan
This is especially important if you plan to travel a far distance. Whether you purchase it from a travel company, or your dealer, be sure you can always get help when you need it most.
- Secure The Backseat
Ensure that child safety locks are activated for doors and windows that could be within your child’s reach. Look around to be sure there are no choking hazards as well.
- Pack The Vehicle Strategically
When packing the vehicle, make sure heavy items are secured. When the car is traveling at high speeds, everything in the car is as well. You wouldn’t want anything heavy to hurt someone if you need to slam on the breaks. A packed-to-the-gills car can also limit your ability to see out of all of your mirrors. Be sure you have clear visibility of other drivers before hitting the road.
- Adjust Your Posture
As the driver, make sure you are sitting in an upright position. Slouching can make you feel drowsy and uncomfortable. Many people tend to sit too far or too close to their steering wheel. To be in the proper driving position, your legs and elbows should be bent so you can exert a strong pressure onto the brake and so you have adequate leverage to easily to turn the wheel.
- Take Breaks
Everyone is in a rush to start their vacation but that is no reason to forego breaks. Stop at a rest stop or switch drivers every two hours. Drinking water will also make you more alert and force you to take regular bathroom breaks.
- Ignore Phone Calls
Never answer the phone while driving. Keep your attention on the road in front of you. Even with Bluetooth, talking is still distracting. You should stay fully alert to everything that is happening on the road.
- Avoid Disruptions
It may be hard to control your crying two year old in the backseat, but it is important to limit distractions when possible. A little advance planning may be all it takes. Timing your departure to coincide with your infant’s or toddler’s nap schedule can be good for all of you!
Take the time to prepare for more than just your destination before you leave on your family road trip. Secure the car and the kids, and make sure you’re prepared to handle a few bumps in the road. My Alarm Center wants to remind you to keep your family safe and to always make smart driving decisions.