Cool safety tips for a successful summer road trip
Summer officially kicked off June 21, which means it’s time to enjoy sunshine and vacations. Summer is one of the highest travel periods in the United States, and it can also be one of the most dangerous times on our roadways.
Before heading out on the highway, it’s important to plan ahead and take all safety measures into account. Prevention and planning may take a little time, but will spare you from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown, or worse, a highway crash.
Before You Go
Regular maintenance of your vehicle goes a long way toward preventing breakdowns. Schedule a preventive maintenance checkup before hitting the road. Also, check for recalls on your vehicle by looking it up on this website — you’ll need your car’s VIN number.
Here are some quick and easy safety checks you can do before a road trip:
- Change the oil
- Check the brakes, battery and belts
- Replace the windshield wipers
- Checking your cooling system and levels, as well as other fluid levels (brake, transmission and power steering)
- Assess tire tread and pressure
- Check the spare tire for proper pressure
- Make sure headlights, brake lights, turn signals, interior lights and emergency flashers are in working order.
- Subscribe to a roadside assistance program
Make sure car and booster seats are properly installed. All children 13 and younger should ride in the back seat. And all passengers in your vehicle should be buckled up.
Visit this website for child safety recommendation, including how to select the right car seat for your child.
- Buckle up: All passengers must wear their seat belts
- Summer heat: One of the biggest dangers related to vehicle in the summertime is heatstroke. Never leave children alone in the car. Vehicles heat up quickly and can reach deadly levels in just a few minutes.
- Lock up: Lock your vehicle’s doors at all times when it’s not in use. Put the keys somewhere that children can’t get access to them.
- Stay alert: Long trips can be difficult for children, drivers and other passengers. Plan time to stop along the trip. Change drivers if they’re feeling tired or drowsy.
On the Road
A driver’s responsibilities include keeping eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and focusing only driving. Plus, it’s important to share the road with motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians, who all have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as every motorist.
- Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle.
- Be mindful of pedestrians: Keep your eyes open for distracted pedestrians. Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it’s not marked.
- Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.
Avoid Bad Driving Behavior
- Avoid distracted driving: The most obvious forms of distraction are cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
- Impaired driving: Every 52 minutes (or 28 times a day), someone in the United States dies in an alcohol impaired-driving crash, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Crashes caused by impaired driving are preventable. Simply, never drive after you have a drink or use drugs.
Emergency Roadside Kit
Put together an emergency roadside kit to take with you. Suggested emergency roadside kit contents include:
- Cell phone and car charger
- First aid kit
- Flares and a white flag
- Jumper cables
- Tire pressure gauge
- Jack for changing a tire
- Work gloves and a change of clothes
- Basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak!)
- Water and paper towels for cleaning up
- Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
- Extra windshield washer fluid
- Emergency blankets, towels and coats
If you or someone you know is in a car accident due to the fault of another, contact the Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling 661-323-4000, or visiting the website chainlaw.com.