Sunday, June 23, 2013

Safety Tips for Your Summer Road Trips

Now that summer is in full swing, plenty of people are packing up their vehicles and getting ready for long road trips. Since the advent of the automobile, road trips have been a favorite past-time of people the world over. But, while safety isn't exactly the first thing anyone thinks of before a road trip, it's definitely an aspect that shouldn't be ignored. There's a few things you can do to make sure your road trip goes smoothly and safely, both before and during your trip. With any luck, knowing these helpful tips will get you to your destination and back unharmed.

Before You Leave

Obviously, the first thing you need to look at before a road trip is your vehicle. If your vehicle is in any way unreliable or in need of repair, consider renting a car. Otherwise, take your car in for a pre-trip checkup. Have the oil and filters changed, washer fluid refilled, and brakes checked for integrity. It's far better to have to cancel a road trip due to a needed repair than to find out you need that repair a thousand miles from home.

Tires are another item on your car that will require inspection. Check the tread on your tires, make sure that they aren't wearing thin and in danger of getting holes. Sometimes debris can embed itself in the rubber of a tire and not cause a flat until much later down the road, make sure yours are free of such debris. Check your spare as well, ensure that it's inflated properly and that you have all the proper tools to install it.

Finally, assemble a road kit, if you haven't already gotten one. Find a box or bag you don't mind leaving in the car and fill it with items you know will come in handy in an emergency. A flashlight, jumper cables, first aid kit and flares are essential items, and you might also include blankets, water and a small food supply in case you end up stranded overnight. Consider also putting a prepaid cellphone in your emergency kit. Not only could it save you from being out of contact with anyone, if your car gets stolen the police might be able to track it via the GPS chip in the phone.

On The Trip

First of all, don't make the same mistake plenty of people make, and get plenty of sleep both before and during your trip. If you don't have another driver to switch off with, make sure you stop and sleep if you start getting tired. More accidents are caused by drowsiness than by intoxicated drivers, for the most part.

Don't attempt to save time by eating on the go, or doing anything else behind the wheel besides driving for that matter. While you might shave thirty minutes here and an hour there, if you end up wrecked on the side of the road because you couldn't pull over to program your GPS, the point is effectively moot.

Take plenty of rest stops, and don't be afraid to stop and smell the roses. Even though you might not be physically tired, it's a good idea to give your brain a rest from the road every now and again in order to keep yourself alert. It doesn't hurt to stretch your legs every few hundred miles either.

If you're taking kids, make sure you bring plenty of distractions. DVD's and video games if your car is equipped to handle them, but books, magazines and toys are also a good way to stave off boredom. Don't be afraid to try a few road games, you might be surprised not only at how well they work for keeping kids occupied, but for helping to keep your mind on the road as well.

Have Fun!

Safety shouldn't prevent you from having fun on a road trip. On the contrary, it should make sure that you're willing and able to have as much fun as possible. Follow the simple tips above, get plenty of rest, and don't be afraid to get lost, and you'll likely have the trip you can look back on fondly for the rest of your life.

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