Summer is the perfect time for a relaxed road trip. Just make sure it stays relaxing. Whether you’re planning a short weekend getaway or a long trek across the nation, take a few precautions to keep your road trip fun and carefree.
Summer driving isn’t as safe as you think.
Winter seems like the more dangerous time to drive. There’s less daylight. Your car could get stuck in the snow, or it could lose traction on the ice. But looking at data from 2011 to 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found a positive correlation between warm weather and traffic fatalities. In other words, you’re more likely to die in a car accident during the warmer months of summer.
This could be because people are driving more. People may also be less careful because the road conditions are good. Regardless of the cause, don’t take your safety for granted. Pay attention to the road at all times. Avoid using your cell phone or doing anything else that could distract you from driving.
Five tips to keep you and your family safe:
- Don’t get stranded. Even a safe driver can run into problems. Don’t let your road trip end with you getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. Install a road trip app on your phone so you can easily locate gas stations and other amenities. Before you depart, make sure your car isn’t under recall by checking the NHTSA site. Even if your vehicle isn’t the focus of a safety recall, you should get it checked before putting a lot of miles. Take it to a mechanic. Have everything checked out, including the fluid levels, the cooling system and the air conditioning. You’re going to need everything in good working order.
- Take care of your tires. Are the roads so hot you could fry an egg on them? If so, think about what that means for your tires. Summer heat is hard on your tires. Before you start your road trip, check the inflation pressure of your tires. Keep a spare tire on hand, along with the tools needed to change a tire.
- Keep your car cool. Your tires aren’t the only part of your car that can suffer in the heat. You’ve already had your car checked out by a mechanic, so the fluid levels should be good. Nevertheless, there’s a chance your car could overheat on your summer road trip. Pay attention to the temperature gauge and any warning lights. If your car is getting too hot, turn off the air conditioning. If the problem persists, pull over and stop the engine. Open the hood and let the engine cool off before you do anything else. Don’t open the radiator cap while the engine is hot. Once it’s cooled, you can check the coolant level. You may be dealing with a leak. Have a mechanic check it out.
- Stock your car with the essentials. Make sure that you have everything you need to stay safe, healthy and sane … even if you get stranded. Bring plenty of water. Also pack some food, sunscreen, blankets, a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries and a fire extinguisher. If you have kids along, electronic devices, driving games and individual headphones/playlists may help the miles go faster. In case you have car problems, bring road flares, a spare tire, a car jack, jumper cables and a tool set.
- Review your auto insurance. One final note – make sure your auto insurance coverage is sufficient and up-to-date and that you have your current proof of insurance and vehicle registration in your car. Need a car insurance check-up? Contact your local Higginbotham office.