This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). All opinions are 100% mine on road trip safety for long family road trips in the summer.
I love summer. Always have!
Part of the greatness of summer is taking family road trips!
Growing up, I loved when our big family crammed into our van and headed West from Wisconsin out to Utah for family reunions every few years in the summer. It was always an awesome adventure and it was great to see extended family we never saw otherwise.
But, I also remember getting a flat tire in the hot summer and that not being so great, or having the AC go out in the van. Ugh!
It’s super important when going on family road trips in the summer that you do your best to prevent car mishaps from happening and travel as safely as possible.
One of the worst things that can happen on a road trip is getting into a crash or having car troubles when far away from home! That’s why it’s so important to go over a road trip safety checklist for your vehicle and your family, before hitting the open road!
Other bad things are, of course, having someone get car sickness or otherwise be sick on the trip. (See my tips for handling car sickness in kids if this is an issue for your family.)
But, let’s talk about road trip safety and what you can do to be safer this year.
Vehicle Safety for Road Trips
It is really important to make sure your vehicle is as safe as possible. It’s why I created a road trip car checklist (with free printable).
In addition to the items on that checklist (which includes getting your car serviced), you need to also check to see if there is a vehicle safety recall on your vehicle.
You can easily check for vehicle safety recalls by using NHTSA’s VIN look-up tool. If a vehicle safety recall shows up, the good news is that those repairs can easily be scheduled with your local car manufacturer’s dealership, and taken care of for free!
NHTSA created a Summer Driving Tips road trip checklist I highly recommend going over as well to make sure you are good to go as safely as possible down the road.
While you are checking into your car’s recalls, you can also check to see if there are recalls on any of your children’s car seats and make sure your children’s car seats are installed tightly and correctly.
To do that, you can reread their owner’s manuals, as well as get them inspected locally for free by certified safety seat inspectors. My post on Car Seat Safety 101 can help you too.
You’ll also want to make sure to pack a summer emergency roadside kit too which includes things like water, flashlight, jumper cables, tools, and a first-aid kit.
General Road Trip Safety Tips
One of the best things you can do to be safe on your trip is make sure you are rested before you leave! Get a full night’s sleep the day before, switch driving with another person, stop and rest as needed as you go.
It also means having things to keep you entertained. Snacks, music, family road trip audiobooks, AC, rolling down the windows, road trip games, etc. can all help to make sure you are as alert as possible as you drive down the road.
You also need to make sure you can drive as undistracted as possible. This means installing and using things like Bluetooth radio for hands-free driving and GPS set-up before you start driving.
With a family, it also means making sure things are within reach of kids who will need them as you go down the road so you don’t have to go scrambling for them as you drive (or make sure the passenger seat occupant attends to those who are in the back).
We like to swap out things like books and movies at stops, as well as pull out our road trip food and drinks then so there is less movement and distraction as we drive.
Always make sure to fill up on gas well before you hit E too. There are some long stretches of nothingness in America, and you don’t want to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
When it comes to storing luggage in your car, you’ll also want to make sure to place heavy items on the bottom and lighter items on top. You’ll also want to tie down or otherwise secure as much as possible throughout the car so nothing flies around should you have to come to a sudden stop, or do a sudden turn.
And of course, always wear your seat belt across your chest and lap correctly. This is important for adults and kids!
Summer Road Trip Safety Tips for You & the Kids
With summer travel comes a few extra road trip safety tips.
You’ll want to check the weather ahead of time, and make sure there aren’t severe thunderstorms or potential tornados along your route. If there are, you’ll want to time your route through that area carefully.
In your summer roadside kit, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of water, sunglasses, hats, and sunblock for everyone.
With the summer heat comes hot seats and seat belts! It can be a good idea to invest in auto sun window reflectors to limit the heat in your car during stops. You can test out the seats too and make sure they won’t be too hot for skin sitting on them too.
And of course, never leave the kids in the car in the hot summer, or the dog, or anyone.
Summer 2020 Road Trip Safety Tips
Lastly, if you are planning to travel during this 2020 summer, you may also want to bring the following as well:
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfecting wipes
- Disposable gloves
You’ll want to have these when running into stores and using bathroom facilities.
For additional helps planning your road trip, see these posts: