Summer Road Trip Safety Tips
Tips for Driving in the Summer
It is expected that as summer arrives, more than one-third of all Americans will take a family vacation which is 50 miles or more away from their home. Although gas prices are edging up, many of those vacations will be taken in the family car. A summer road trip can result in memories which last for a lifetime; national parks, theme parks, and beaches are the most popular destinations for family road trips. Mapping out your route in advance is crucial to ensuring you stay on course and safe on your trip. Triple-A recommends that you plan frequent stops—about every two hours to ensure the driver remains alert, and to give passengers an opportunity to stretch their legs or have a drink and a snack.
The Importance of an Emergency Road Kit
According to Liberty Mutual Insurance, the number one mistake made by Americans who set out on a road trip (nearly half) is not checking to ensure there are proper emergency items in the car. Having an emergency road kit could save you major headaches on your trip and can help keep you safe. Your emergency road kit should include the following:
- A small flashlight
- Plenty of water bottles
- Alcohol Swabs
- An extra car cell phone charger
- An old towel
- Snacks, like nuts and granola bars
- Jumper cables
- A multi-purpose tool
What is the Biggest Hazard on the Roadways?
Distracted drivers may well be the number one hazard on the roadways. Parents, in particular, are guilty of leaning down (while driving) to pick up a dropped bottle or toy, to watch the children in the rearview mirror instead of watching the road, or to turn around while driving to see what the kids are up to. Other distractions include eating while driving, talking on a cell phone, texting, posting to social media, trying to set the GPS while driving and watching something happening on the side of the road instead of watching the road. Distracted drivers are a serious danger—some believe more accidents are caused by distractions than any other cause, including impaired drivers and excess speed.
One of the best ways to stay safe on your road trip is to be organized. Make sure you have any necessary items you could need while driving in one easy-to-access area. Program your GPS before you leave the driveway, and make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed. Plan a trip’s worth of in-car entertainment for the children so they do not become a distraction while you drive. Keep an assortment of car-friendly games, books and an assortment of movies with a portable DVD player. If you have older children who want to listen to music, bring along extra headphones or earbuds in case some go missing.
Learn a Few DIY Maintenance Skills
While you should have your car—particularly your tires, brakes, and lights—checked out before you leave on your road trip, it never hurts to have a few car maintenance skills under your belt. Learn how to check the air pressure in your tires, and add air when needed, as well as how to change a tire (before you have a flat). Learn how to check your oil—and add oil when needed—as well as how to add windshield wiper fluid and change your wiper blades.
What to Do If You Have an Accident While on Vacation
If you are involved in a car accident while on vacation, it can put a significant damper on your trip. However, in the interests of protecting your claim, you must still follow the basic “rules” of an accident, such as:
- Have everyone checked out at the local ER
- If your vacation is cut short due to the accident, keep track of any expenses incurred because of the accident as well as a record of each medical provider seen by you or your family members.
- If you continue on your trip, do not post anything about your accident or your trip to social media. Your case could be destroyed by an insurance company who manipulates the story behind the photos to convince jurors you were not injured in the accident.
- Call an attorney you trust from your hometown and ask for a referral for an attorney in the area where your wreck occurred, then take the time to meet with the attorney while you are in the area.
If you are in the Lake Charles, Louisiana area, the Hoffoss Devall attorneys want to help you. We understand how traumatic an accident while on vacation is and will work hard to ensure you receive an equitable settlement.