Schools across the country will be back in session soon, but there's still a good amount of summer left for many students and families. If you're planning to fit in a road trip before the summer is over, then you may want to consider a few basic safety tips to prevent car accidents. There are many ways you can prepare for a road trip, but here are three important ones:
Prepare a roadside emergency kit
Avoid car problems by scheduling your vehicle for routine maintenance. Be prepared for car trouble on the road by stocking the right supplies:
- Fully charged cell phone and a car charger
- First-aid supplies
- Jumper cable
- Tire pressure gauge
- Drinking water
- Non-perishable snacks, such as energy bars
You should also make sure your spare tire (and a jack) is in the trunk or somewhere else in your vehicle, and that it is properly inflated. It's a good idea to pack an extra container of windshield washer fluid in case you run out.
Distractions are a major cause of auto accidents across the US. You cannot completely eliminate all sources of distractions (sometimes something outside of your window will catch your attention before you realize you're distracted), but you can reduce most common causes of distraction, such as:
- Using your cell phone
- Adjusting audio controls or GPS (create a playlist ahead of time, and pull over in a safe spot if you need to adjust GPS directions)
- Personal grooming
Passengers are another source of distraction highly relevant to road trips. For example, children in the backseat fighting or shouting for your attention, or adults engaging in a heated debate or loud discussion. These things can be a little more difficult to control, but be conscious of how they affect your ability to concentrate.
Prevent drowsy driving
On road trips especially, it can be tempting to skip breaks and drive straight through in order to arrive at your destination as soon as possible. Drowsy driving impairs your judgment, slows your reaction time and can even cause you to nod off behind the wheel. The dangers are serious. Take breaks to get out of the car and stretch. Plan a realistic driving schedule that doesn't result in too many hours on the road without rest. Doing so can help you prevent serious car accidents.