Everyone loves going on summer vacations, but before your fun in the sun can start you have to get from point A to point B safely. Every year during June, July and August, thousands of families hit the road for long trips in order to get to their vacation spots, but not all of them take the proper safety precautions to reduce their chance of being involved in a crash. Our car accident lawyers want to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy their summer plans, and we hope that passing along a few important road trip tips will help you and your family do so safely.
Pre-Trip Maintenance-Regular maintenance of your vehicle and proper pre-trip planning can significantly reduce your chance of breaking down or being involved in an accident. Check the air pressure in all of your tires, including the spare, to avoid flat tires and blowouts, and ensure that all fluids are at their proper levels. Remember, no matter how much you plan, accidents can still happen; keep an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle with flares, a jack and a first aid case so you are ready for anything.
Packing-When you plan to spend a few weeks on vacation, packing can be an ordeal in and of itself. However, when a car traveling at 70 miles per hour suddenly collides with another vehicle and is brought to a halt, laptops, video game systems, books, and various other loose items can become dangerous projectiles. Whatever you choose to bring, take time to organize storage in a way that will limit your family’s risk of injury in the event of a collision.
Occupant Protection-It’s common for families to utilize their biggest vehicle when going on a road trip. This means that protective car seats and booster seats may have to be taken out of other vehicles and reinstalled. It’s important to make sure that car seats and child protective devices are properly installed and suited for your child’s unique size and weight. For all other occupants of the vehicle, a seat belt should be worn every trip, and should not be taken off or adjusted for sleeping on long drives.
On the Road-Once your trip is underway, it is important to establish ground rules inside the car to prevent passengers from taking your attention off the road. Some 80% of crashes involve distracted drivers, and if you are a parent, I don’t need to explain how distracting anxious children can be on long drives. Another way to make sure you stay alert and focused while driving is to schedule frequent breaks at rest stops or overnight stays at a hotel; this is a great way to keep everyone happy. (U.S. Department of Transportation; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Many of these tips may seem like common sense, but following them really is the best way to keep you and your family safe. Our attorneys hope that you enjoy the beautiful weather, and would like to wish everyone a safe and wonderful summer!