Summer is quickly coming to a close (as much as we don’t want to admit it!) but there’s still time to fit in plenty of fun. Many families are heading out on vacation in these final weeks before the kids pack their book bags once again.
Whether you’re going camping just a few hours away or venturing farther on a cross-country trip, there are a few simple things you can do to keep everyone safe. Let’s dive into our top road trip tips!
1) First things first: Check your vehicle
Arguably the most important part of any road trip is the vehicle that gets you from point A to point B.
If your destination isn’t too far away, you can do a baseline car check on your own. Make sure you don’t have any warning lights on — and confirm that your last oil change was within a few thousand miles!
If you’re heading out farther, though, it’s a good idea to let your local automotive shop take a look. A full check up will include your engine, brakes, and tires, ultimately giving you full peace of mind that your vehicle is ready to handle everything the open road throws.
2) Keep an emergency kit on hand
Pack an emergency kit ahead of time. You never know when something might go wrong — and having the right supplies on hand can turn a crisis into nothing more than a stressful bump in the road.
We recommend including:
- Jumper cables
- Spare tire
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable food
3) Don’t drive while drowsy
Once your vehicle is prepped and your family is packed with an emergency kit in tow, the most important thing you can do is rest.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving while drowsy is the main factor in more than 100,000 car accidents every year — and it’s even been compared to driving while under the influence of alcohol.
It’s better to be late and rested than early and exhausted
A good night of sleep before the first day of your trip can make or break the entire experience. If that means you need to set your alarm a little later (and arrive at your destination a little later) that’s okay!
Stay awake once the trip starts
And once you’re on the road, don’t hesitate to pull over or switch drivers if you find yourself getting tired. Here are a few other things that can help:
- Eating (high-volume, lightweight snacks like popcorn or baked crackers are a great option)
- Listening to upbeat music or interesting podcasts
- Playing road games or carrying a conversation with your passengers
4) Stay off your phone (have someone else handle directions)
Even more dangerous than driving while tired? Driving while distracted. We know you need to bring your phone along on any trip — but it’s important to keep it out of your hands behind the wheel so your focus can stay on the road.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Designate the passenger-seat rider as your navigator
- Keep your phone on do not disturb mode
- Have someone else answer calls, texts, and look for rest stops
If no one else is able to navigate for you, set up your maps functionality ahead of time — and if it’s at all possible, put it on the screen of your car so you don’t have to look down at your map or cupholder. The closer you can keep your eyes to the horizon of the road, the better.
5) Wear your seatbelt
It’s age-old advice, but it still stands: Wearing your seatbelt is the most effective way to avoid injury in the event of a collision.
Make sure everyone, especially your little ones, is buckled up properly every time your vehicle is in motion. If your kids are old enough and feeling a bit competitive, you can even turn it into a “game” to see who can buckle up the fastest each time you get back into the car.
6) Plan in-car activities ahead of time
Speaking of games, there’s nothing like a classic road-trip activity to keep your kids occupied — and out of your hair while you focus on the road. Consider planning a few things ahead of time to limit distractions once you’re moving!
Here are a few of our favorites:
- Small coloring booklets
- Word searches
- Handheld card games
- The “alphabet game” or other out-the-window spotting activities
Lindow Insurance has your back
Our hometown agents love road trips — and because we work in insurance, we’re also acutely aware that there are risks whenever we drive for an extended period of time. Planning ahead lets you skip the worry and focus on having a blast with your family!
As always, if you have questions about your insurance coverage (like what happens if someone else drives your car or you have an accident with an uninsured motorist away from home) we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch — and enjoy the rest of your summer!