Safety and Sanitation: Car Safety Tips for Summer Road Trips

Man driving a convertibleMany people consider their vehicle to be a second home during the summer – school is out and vacations or weekend road trips are booked! But with more traffic on the roads and scorching heat bouncing off the asphalt, prepping the car accordingly may save time and money, as well as reduce safety concerns. There are easy and logical ways to prepare the car for summer travel as described below, however take your own situation into account and focus on areas that matter most to you.

Prepare the Vehicle:

  • Check the car tires, and the spare.
  • Inspect the battery, engine, hoses, belts and fluids for proper levels and to ensure nothing seems too worn. Also ensure the A/C is functioning properly.
  • Test all lights and wipers. Clean the windows – both inside and out.
  • Individuals who do not feel confident with any of the above should consider paying for a quick inspection by a trained technician. Though it will mean an upfront investment, the peace of mind while on the road will be worth it.
  • Keep an emergency roadside kit in the vehicle. The kit should contain jumper cables, a flashlight and extra batteries, extra vehicle fuses, roadside flares, a small tool kit, a blanket, a first aid kit, duct tape, rags, nylon rope, etc. The DMV has a comprehensive list to consider.

Safety on the Road:

  • Buckle up and make sure passengers also wear their belts.
  • In the event of a flat tire, engine trouble, or a fender bender, drive out of traffic lanes and off the highway, if possible. Use shoulders if it’s a true emergency, but freeway shoulders are generally not safe for repair work.
  • Plan to use a designated sober driver ahead of time.
  • Call 911 if you suspect that a drunk driver is operating another car on the road – signs include weaving/swerving; erratic braking; sudden stops for signal lights and slow starts once they change.

Focused Driving:

  • Do not text or talk on a mobile phone while driving, even hands-free if possible. Drivers who need to make a call or check their phone should stop in a safe place, such as a rest stop or parking lot.
  • Program the GPS ahead of time, not while driving. Or, have a passenger do it.
  • Rotate drivers to avoid fatigue. It’s best to agree on a schedule ahead of time.
  • Rest if needed. Drowsy driving can be fatal.