Tips for a Safe Road Trip this Summer
Summer is right around the corner, and many families will take a road trip, either to visit a national park or possibly spend time with distant family. At Karnas Law Firm, PLLC, we advocate traffic safety because we have seen the damage that accidents cause. No matter how far you are driving, it is critical that you plan properly to avoid accidents and other mishaps that cost you time and money. Below, our Yuma car accident lawyers offer our best tips for a safe road trip with the family this summer.
Get a Car Tune-Up Before Leaving
The last thing you want is your car to break down in the middle of the trip. You might never reach your destination in time. Even worse, a malfunctioning car is more likely to crash because the driver will lose control when critical safety features fail.
Schedule a tune-up with your mechanic a week before you leave. You can have them check your belts and fluids, and possibly get the tires rotated. Fix any outstanding problem with the car before your trip, like worn brake pads.
Avoid Driving All Day and Night
Many families are so eager to get to their destination that they drive all night. This might save money because you don’t have to rent a hotel room, but it increases the chances of a crash. Fatigued driving is like drunk driving, and there is a real risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. Even nodding off for a second can lead to a critical safety event.
Map out your trip and use realistic estimates of how far you can travel in a day. Then get a hotel room or find a nearby campground where you can get a good night’s rest.
Wear Your Seatbelt
Wearing a seatbelt is the simplest way to reduce accident injuries. Some people are tempted to remove their seatbelt for long trips, or to put the chest belt behind their back. Unfortunately, you are not getting full protection if you do this.
For children, make sure they have a safety or booster seat that is appropriate for their age and size. Also read the instructions to make sure it is installed properly.
Charge Your Phone Regularly
Should something happen, you might need to use your cellphone to call a tow truck or an ambulance. Make sure your phone is fully charged before leaving for the trip. This is also a good reason to keep the phone off as you drive: you don’t want to drain the battery.
Reduce Distractions while Driving
Everyone should know the most common distractions by now:
- Cell phones
- GPS devices
What few people think about is how their spouse or significant other can cause distraction by having a phone on while riding shotgun. This person might be tempted to show you a video or message as you are driving, which could easily distract you. Remember, some distraction is cognitive—you are looking at the road but your mind is focused on something else.
If you are bringing a pet for the ride, make sure it’s in a travel cage, or else use a dog seatbelt which will keep them from jumping into the front seat. Animals become annoyed by riding for long periods of time, so schedule regular brakes to walk your pet on a leash.
It’s only natural to speed—especially if you are on a stretch of highway with few vehicles around. But speeding increases the possibility of losing control of your car. It’s also harder for a speeding motorist to slow down once the road becomes more congested with traffic. You might just keep on speeding, which can result in a crash and/or a traffic ticket. This summer vacation is expensive enough—don’t add to it with a pricey speeding ticket.
Keep Your Children Entertained
We finally come to the biggest distraction of all: your kids. You would do anything for your children, but what you need to do most is focus on driving, which is almost impossible when a nine-year-old constantly asks, “Are we there yet?” or a six-year-old throws peas at the back of your head.
Keeping children entertained is one of the biggest challenges on any road trip. Only you know your children. Some children can happily watch a movie while drinking a juice box for hours. Other children need your spouse in the back seat to keep them entertained.
Injured in a Wreck? We Offer Free Consultations
Karnas Law Firm has practiced car accident law for decades. We can help anyone hurt during a road trip. Give us a call to schedule a time to speak with an attorney about your legal rights.