Summer is almost upon us, the season for ice cream, pool parties, sunglasses, and of course, road trips. Packing one’s car with loved ones and hitting the road to get away from work and all the stresses of daily life is one of the most enjoyable perks of summertime. So it behooves one to ensure travel safety before embarking on a trip, because you don’t want a slight oversight to ruin your fun.
Prepping for a great road trip starts, naturally, at home. It begins with packing the right things, and packing them efficiently and safely, so that you have space for the best travel gifts you find along the journey to bring back home. What you want to do is make sure you have the basic necessary kit for dealing with unforeseen situations. And you don’t need to get fancy about it, either. Just a small box containing a flashlight, a high-visibility jacket, some blankets, a regular first-aid kit, and preferably a Swiss Army knife would be enough. Also put a jug of water in the trunk, and make sure your spare tire or puncture repair kit is in tiptop shape.
Some say you should also pack jumper cables, but if you have a new-ish car that is not something you need to worry about. In any case, it is better to have your checked by a mechanic before the journey. Again, there is no need for elaborate check-ups. Just a once-over would do. You should pay special attention to the conditions of your tires, and check the engine, transmission, and cooling system’s fluid levels.
We’re not yet ready to hit the road! There are still a few more at-home tips to make sure your road trip is a nice and safe one, and they have to do with your own well-being as the driver and the peace of mind of the passengers. A good night’s sleep is about the most important safety tip for any car travel. It doesn’t matter if you need to hit the road in the early hours of the morning. Just make sure you get enough sleep before you start the journey and definitely take frequent breaks on the road if your destination is far away.
Also, and this is an important tip often overlooked, take some time to secure your house before you leave it for a long period of time. You don’t want to be on the road and constantly worry about whether you locked that door or shut that window. It spoils the fun and also cuts into the attention you have to be putting in your driving. So before you set off, shut off the main gas and water valves and switch off the power, unless you have an alarm system that requires electricity. Then set about locking the doors and windows and concealing your valuables. Ideally, you want to have a neighbor or a relative to come and check on your property regularly to make sure everything is tickety-boo.
Now you are on the road and looking forward to a great time with your family exploring the countryside or visiting the relatives. It goes without saying that you should always follow the speed limit and avoid dangerous behaviors, such as risky overtaking maneuvers. Going a step further than that, you need to minimize the distractions that could avert your attention from the job at hand: driving. If you have kids with you, make sure they are happily occupied in the back seat with a movie or a video game. If it’s just you and your bae, refrain from engaging in amorous activities while driving. It is also best to avoid eating and drinking and smoking while behind the wheel, but make sure you stay hydrated, as dehydration itself is a cause of diminished concentration. What’s more, ignore phone calls and text messages, and adjust your seat in a comfortable but upright position. You don’t want to do a gangsta lean, no matter how cool it might look, as it is too relax a posture for driving and limits your field of view as well.
Finally, make sure you have a GPS system with you, either on the car or on your phone, plus extra phone batteries and charging cables. If you are traveling somewhere with weak cell and satellite coverage, plan out your route beforehand and write down the location of emergency services and fuel stations as well as their distance. These quick and easy tips will ensure that you have the safety and peace of mind to spend a great time road-tripping this summer. In addition, you might be interested in these car travel tips to avoid accidents on the road, check them out here.