This is the second article in our four-part series about summer travel safety. Read part one here.
Whether you’ve planned your summer road trip for a long time or embark on a last-minute journey, understanding certain safety measures can save you a lot of trouble and maybe even heartache. There are several steps you can take to ensure that you and your family have a safe and enjoyable summer trip.
• Prepare your vehicle. Do safety checks on tires including the spare. Make sure they are properly inflated and have good tread. Taking the time to do this can help save lives. Do a thorough inspection of your vehicle including the engine, battery, hoses, belts and fluids for wear and proper levels. If you are not sure about what to do, have your vehicle inspected by a qualified technician. It could ensure not just safety, but also peace of mind.
• Never drive drunk or under the influence of drugs. Look out for dangerous or drunk drivers. If you see a driver who you believe is drunk, call 911. You may be saving a life. Clues that help motorists detect drunk drivers include excessive weaving or swerving, traveling at speeds much slower than the flow of traffic, braking erratically and stopping suddenly.
• Buckle up at all times. Always wear a seatbelt regardless of whether you’re on a long road trip or going down the street to the supermarket. Parents and caregivers must use the correct safety seat for young passengers and make sure that it is installed properly. Keep children 12 and under in the back seat.
• Do not drive distracted. Don’t text or talk on your cell phone while driving, even if it is hands-free. If you need to make a call, check roadway conditions or adjust temperature controls or the GPS, wait until you stop at a safe place such as a rest stop or parking lot.
• Pay attention to fatigue. If you are tired pull over at a rest stop in a safe location and take a nap until you are ready to drive again. If you know you are going to drive long distance, get enough sleep the previous night. Try to travel during the day. Share the driving with passengers to avoid fatigue. Caffeine can also help you stay fresh.