4 Safety Tips for the Family Road Trip
Who doesn’t love a family road trip? Packing the whole family up into the car and setting off to your destination is a great way to bring everyone closer together and enjoy some family time. When taking a family road trip it’s so important to be sure you have armed with some good safety tips too!
We used to love family road trips and took every opportunity to take them. Even though at times, it was stressful with two kids in the car, they always turned out to be great fun and a wonderful learning experience.
Packing for a family road can be equally as stressful but, it’s all part of traveling. Yet, with roughly six million car accidents in the United States every year, a family road trip can also be a dangerous adventure. It’s the last thing you want to think about but it should be the first thing you prepare for. Accidents happen whether they’re your fault or not and you should know how to keep your family safe on the road.
Plan your route
Maybe you can hop in the car and set off to your destination with no particular route in mind when you’re by yourself, but when it comes to family road trips planning your route is key. For starters, you will probably have to make a few stops along the way for bathroom breaks and food.
The other reason it’s a good idea to route your trip is that you can have backups in place in the event something goes wrong. With technology such as GPS, it can be tempting to simply rely on that but it’s a good idea to have a road atlas as a backup too. It’s also a good idea to send your route itinerary to a trusted friend or relative prior to your departure so that if something happens they know where to find you.
Ensure your vehicle is in good working order
You place your trust in your vehicle every time you get behind the wheel and more so when you have the family in the car. Especially on long-distance trips, something going wrong with your vehicle is a very real possibility. Up to 2.35 million Americans are hurt or disabled as a result of a motor vehicle accident each year and many of those accidents can be caused by a mechanical or electrical failure in your car. Road trips are great anytime of year but especially popular during the summer months.
Before you head out for your trip, have a mechanic thoroughly inspect your car for any prevalent issues that could be serious on the road. Have them check your fluid levels, wheel alignment, suspension, steering, tire pressure/quality, and anything else that might lead to a breakdown or accident.
No matter where they’re sitting in the car, you should have everyone buckle their seatbelts. Moreover, if you have small children in the back seat, be sure to properly install a child safety seat and have them safely buckled inside. Not wearing a seatbelt during an accident can greatly increase the chances of getting injured or worse.
Not only do seatbelts save lives but they can save money too. The average trip to the Emergency Room costs $1,318 while the mean cost of a visit is $615, according to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Ensuring that everyone is buckled can help them stay safe in the car and avoid a trip to the hospital.
Be alert while driving
It’s important to be completely alert and focused when you’re behind the wheel. That means getting a good night’s sleep and knowing when it’s time to take a break. Ask someone else to drive for a bit while you get some rest or pull off at a rest stop until you’re able to drive again.
You should also stay completely focused on the road while driving. In 2015 alone, distracted driving resulted in 3,477 fatalities. Turn your cell phone off during your trip or let someone else in the car respond to calls and texts. Keep the radio volume to a minimum and avoid doing anything else besides driving.
Family road trips can be and are supposed to be fun for the whole family but it’s imperative not to lose sight of what matters most: everyone’s safety. If you’re planning your next family vacation, be sure to keep in mind these road trip safety tips.