With the kids out of school and the weather hitting its prime, you’re probably getting ready for a much-needed summer vacation. Summer vacation can involve long road trips across state lines, and these road trips may have you traveling into unfamiliar territory. Here are some tips to keep you and the family safe while on the way to your summer vacation destination.
Fully Inspect Your Vehicle
We tend not to notice dull windshield wipers or an old battery until they’re ready to be replaced. Consider how far you’ll be driving on your vacation, and see if any components (such as oil, headlights, or battery) should be replaced before leaving. There aren’t any service stations in the Grand Canyon, and you want to make sure you’ve got a car that can last you all the way home.
Research Before Leaving
Plan out your route before leaving, and research any questionable areas you may be driving through. Some mountainous regions of the country have roads that require four-wheel drive. Some remote roads may require a high level of lift. Make sure that your car is ready to take on the terrain that you are crossing.
Don’t Drive Overnight
Driving overnight is to be avoided if at all possible. Our brains are trained to rest at night and perform at their peak during the day. Driving late into the night often slows our reaction times and makes it harder to give driving the attention that it deserves. If driving through the night is a necessity, try to get some exercise before getting behind the wheel. Just a few minutes of athletic activity can increase blood circulation and increase your focus for a few hours.
Sharing the driving load is the best way to travel a long distance in a day safely. Driving fatigue usually starts to set in after two to three hours of continuous driving, and switching out drivers gives everyone some much-needed rest. If you’re the only driver on the trip, make sure to at least take a short break every two to three hours. Spending at least 10 minutes outside of the car to stretch and rest will improve your focus once you start up again.
Settle the Kids and Pets In
Studies show that children and pets can be some of the most distracting elements while driving. Before setting off on the road, make sure that children are securely buckled in and have activities to keep them occupied. Also, make sure that pets are safely secured to keep them from moving around the car. There are several affordable pet seatbelts on the market that keep animals secure and prevent them from wandering about the car.
Plan for Emergencies
Remote areas sometimes have freely roaming farm animals or migrating herds. Because of road hazards like these that we are not used to accounting for, we may find ourselves in a jam even after proper planning. To keep you and your family safe during unexpected, make sure to pack these things: cell phone charger, first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, extra food, and blankets.