Slowly, the world is returning to normal from COVID-19. That means it will be time to travel with the family soon. Time to pack up the car and get moving!
But wait! You are going to want to make sure that everyone gets to their destination safely. This not only includes wearing a seatbelt but also making sure that everything is running well with the car. Here are a few tips to help you make sure that your next family road trip is a safe one.
Get the Car Checked Out Before You Leave
This is a no-brainer. Your car maintenance is important for many reasons. For one thing, getting your car taken in for work can save lives. Another reason is that you could get a ticket for things like a broken tail light. Plus, you could save yourself so much money taking in your car to be fixed when you first notice something wrong. About $60 billion worth of vehicle maintenance goes unperformed every year. The reason for this is that people tend to ignore the warning signs with their cars. Don't ignore when that check engine light comes on. You are putting your family at risk when the car breaks down at the worst possible moment. Take the time to take your car to the shop at the first sign of trouble.
Always Buckle Up
This rule has been taught to us ever since we were little, but you might be surprised by how many people ignore it. Seat belts exist for a reason. They can cut down on the number of deaths caused by accidents. Ever since 1958, seat belts have made traveling by car that much safer. Sit down with your kids and talk to them about why it's important to wear a seat belt in the car. It's not just kids that have to be reminded. Talk to the adults in your family and kindly remind them to buckle up. You might even have to threaten not to move until they do. Just do whatever it takes.
Get a Good Night's Sleep
Falling asleep behind the wheel is a deadly thing to do. Your car could veer off the road and crash. As such, you'll want to get a good night's sleep before hitting the road. It usually takes about eight hours to get a good night's rest. What if you can't get that? Maybe have your spouse or partner take over driving at one point while you sleep it off. What if you are a single parent? Pull off the side of the road and take a nap or delay your trip by a day. Sure, you will lose time, but you will at least make it to your destination alive.
Always Drive Defensively
This cannot be stressed enough. Reckless driving is the top reason for death and injury. Millions of people are injured on U.S. highways each year. You can't control how everyone else drives around you. But you can control how you drive. Keep your focus on drivers around you. Obey all traffic rules. Follow the speed limit. What if you get stressed behind the wheel? Your emotions can play into how you drive. Road rage can also lead to injury. There are many stories of it leading to death. Don't let this be you. Take a deep breath and think when you are behind the wheel. Maybe play some soft music to help. Anything to keep yourself calm.
Look Out For Wildlife and Potholes
Believe it or not, animals can do damage to your car. Just one deer could total your vehicle. Always keep your eyes open for big animals crossing the road. Wildlife isn't the only thing that you have to watch out for. Potholes can be just as deadly. Asphalt has a lifespan of around 10 to 12 years when it's correctly maintained. If not, the road becomes a nightmare to drive through. It could lead to a blown-out tire and a crash. Please keep your eyes on the road at all times.
Pack an Emergency or First-Aid Kit
Now that we've covered the outside of the car, let's go inside. You could have an emergency on the road. When calling 911 isn't an option, you have to turn to an emergency kit. Stock up on bandages, gauze, rubbing alcohol pads, tape, EpiPens, and medication. If someone has diabetes, make sure you have a testing kit, water, and snacks. Not only do you need to have an emergency kit, but you need to make sure that everything is up to date. It's no good to have anything dried up or expired. You should also bring along extras like flashlights, flares, jumper cables, a basic tool kit, and anything else that might help you if your car suddenly becomes inoperable.
Watch the Weather Forecast
The weather can lead to nasty accidents on the road. Heavy rains can make driving that much harder. If you are going on a road trip in winter, you have to deal with icy roads and snow. Watch the weather before you leave your house or the hotel room. Smartphones also have weather apps for you to check the weather. You might have to wait to start driving if the weather is less than ideal. It's better to lose time on your trip than to risk driving in bad weather.
Teach Your Kids About Limiting Distractions
Driving while distracted can lead to death. This is really important to hammer home to your children when they first get their driver's permit. Sit down with your kids and talk to them about the dangers of things like texting while driving. Tell them that texts and phone calls can wait. You have to tell them to keep their eyes on the road. One little glance away from the road can lead to deadly accidents. If you want your words to sink in, don't sound like you are nagging them. Calmly talk to them and don't talk down to them. Of course, you'll need to follow your own advice by limiting all distractions while you're behind the wheel, including the use of smartphones (even for navigation purposes!).
Follow All Health Recommendations
Last but not least, listen to your doctors about whether you should be driving or not. Certain health conditions can make driving safely next to impossible. There are some medications that will impair your judgment and make you drowsy. You should not be driving under these conditions. Talk to your doctor about your meds and your health conditions. They can help you with your conditions. You should also follow health recommendations relating to COVID-19 during your trip, especially if your children are too young to be vaccinated. Bring along hand sanitizer, masks, wipes, and other must-haves to ensure your road trip won't be interrupted by a potential health scare.
Your family's safety should be the top priority on your road trip. Talk to both kids and adults about these safety tips. If you follow these to the tee, you will have a great time during your road trip.