June 2, 2011

10 Tips for Keeping your Family Safe on the Road

Summer is here. Soon families across the United States will be heading out on the roads for vacation. Even with soaring gas prices, it's hard to deny the allure of a family road trip. As millions begin their annual treks, it's important to keep in mind a few helpful tips for keeping your family safe on the road.

  1. Don't over do it. I think it's definitely tempting to try to drive across country in the shortest time possible, but be aware of your own personal limitations. It might sounds like a good idea to drive for 14 hours, but driver fatigue can increase your risks. 
  2. Please don't text and drive. Please, please, please for your safety and the safety of the rest of us on the road, don't text and drive. No message is worth your life or worth the life of your children. If you absolutely must check your messages, pass your phone to a passenger or pull over to the side of the road.
  3. Don't drink and drive. I would hope beyond all hope that you would know better than to drive impaired, but statistics show that large numbers of people do get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Please be responsible and don't put the rest of us at risk. 
  4. Take regular breaks. If you've been on the road for a while, it might be a good idea to schedule regular breaks. Stretch your legs. Get a snack. Take a bathroom break. It'll help break up the monotony of the road and help you stay focused.
  5. If you're sleepy, pull over or get a passenger to drive. Studies have shown that driving while sleep deprived can be similar to driving while intoxicated. If you feel like you're about to doze off, please pull off to a safe area and take a quick cat nap. If you're traveling with another licensed driver, take turns behind the wheel. One can sleep while the other one drives. 
  6. Keep your car well maintained. Before heading out on the road, make sure your vehicle is in proper working order. Be sure to take care of any chips in your windshield since they can turn into a crack at any time. Chip repairs are economical and quick and usually take just about 30 minutes. Some companies like Safelite will even come to your location to do the repair.
  7. Drive defensively. The sad truth is that even if you're doing everything properly, it's still possible to get into an accident due to someone else's negligence. Be on the alert for other drivers. Please report any individuals who appear to be intoxicated or are driving recklessly.
  8. Inspect your tires. Before your trip begins, inspect your tires for any signs of damage or wear. It'd be a good time to check your tire pressure (this can also help you get the best gas mileage).
  9. Check your child restraints. If you're traveling with young children, check to make sure that their seats are secure and properly installed. The seat should wiggle from side to side when you pull on it. If you're not sure if your seat is installed properly, stop by your local fire station or police station. Most locations have someone available to check to make sure the seat is secure.
  10. Travel with an emergency kit. You never know what you might encounter on the road. Be sure to travel with a fully stocked emergency kit. Include some non-perishable food, bottles of water, a flashlight, blanket, and standard first aid kit. It always pays to be prepared. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before your trip in case of an emergency (just remember not to chat on it while driving!). 
Your family is precious, so don't be in a rush. Take care of your precious cargo. Arriving ten or fifteen minutes early is not worth the risk of speeding or driving recklessly. There are many things that you can do to help keep your family safe on the road and reduce your risk. Drive safely and enjoy the journey!! Happy summer travels!

    “I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Safelite blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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