Road trips can be a tremendous amount of fun for family and friends. While a lot of planning goes into packing and other preparations, put just as much thought into ensuring everyone arrives safely at their destination. As you set out from Indianapolis or wherever your starting point, remember these road trip safety tips.
Pre-Trip Safety Tips
Allow enough time before the trip to ensure the vehicle and safety-related parts/accessories are in good working order. People don’t often think about how these issues could not only contribute to the likelihood of an accident but possibly increase the severity of injuries if there is a crash.
Ensure there’s enough time to not only check, but make any necessary corrections/repairs to the following parts:
- Safety-related vehicle parts (tires, fluids, brakes, windshield wipers, wheels, seatbelts)
- Comfort-related parts (air conditioning if driving during hot weather and heat if driving during colder temperatures)
- Booster/child car seat (should be the right type, depending on child’s age/weight and installed correctly)
Gearing Up for Safety on the Road
No one can predict when a vehicle will break down or will become disabled in a crash. But there are ways to prepare for this type of emergency. Pack the following gear when taking a road trip:
- Emergency kit (spare tire and tools to change it, flashlight, flares, jumper cables)
- Electronics (fully-charged cell phone and a charger)
- First aid kit (bandages, gauze pads, cloth tape, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, scissors, blanket, flashlight, water, nonperishable food)
Staying Safe on the Road
You’ve checked the vehicle over, packed all the important gear, and now it’s time to finally hit the road. This isn’t the time to let your guard down.
Keep the following tips in mind when embarking on a road trip:
- Don’t drive when drowsy. This could significantly impact your driving ability. Getting a good night’s sleep before leaving can make a huge difference. If possible, switch with another adult driver every few hours.
- Avoid distractions. Don’t use the cell phone to make a call or text. If it’s necessary to respond to a phone call or message, ask a passenger to do so. Don’t eat or drink while driving; instead, pull off to a rest stop or another safe area.
- Driving at night. When everyone else is asleep, it can be difficult to stay focused when driving after dark. Put on some music or keep the window cracked. Don’t use cruise control; it’s easier to stay awake if you have to manually maintain your speed.
- Don’t drive impaired. It goes without saying that consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel is not only illegal but dangerous. Yet motorists don’t always think about the potential consequences of taking a prescription medication that may interfere with their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Stay away from any substances that could impair your driving abilities. Ask someone else to drive if you have to take medication.
If you liked these safety tips, be sure to check out our other safety-related articles. If your teen is going on a road trip with friends, see our article on safe driving tips for teens.