7 Tips for Planning a Safe Summer Road Trip

One of the most popular times of the year is approaching – summer. It is probably the most active travel season.  Whether you are dropping the children off at Grandma’s house for a week, going on a yearly road trip cross country, or driving to see an historic location, make sure your car is ready for the journey.  Take a deep breath and sit down to actually prepare for this ride.  A little organization goes a long way.

1. Plan Your Route

There are multiple websites that you can use to find links to tourism and popular cities across the United States: http://www.DiscoverAmerica.com, http://www.RoadTripAmerica.com, and http://www.AAA.com.  All three of these have lists of attractions and fun destinations for families and also sight seeing.


2.  Prep the Car

Did you know that tire pressure rises 1-2 pounds per square inch for every 10-degree increase in the outside air temperature?  Checking the tire pressure before you get on the road will prevent any blowouts that could have occurred otherwise.  While you are checking the tire pressure, also make sure to get an oil and air filter change, and/or schedule a tuneup.  The combination of all of these will ensure that you safely arrive at your destination.


3.  Don’t Let the Rain or Sun Affect Your Trip

We all know about the summer rain in certain areas of the country, so make sure your wiper blades are new and properly functioning. If the rain catches you by surprise, slow down and keep your distance from the car ahead of you.  If it becomes too heavy, remember not to keep driving; pull off the road to a safe location.  Because the summer is also known for its heat, take the precaution to check and see if your radiator is full of antifreeze.


4.  Pack a Roadside Emergency Kit

You should always keep these articles in your car, but especially during a road trip: flashlight and batteries; blankets; first aid kit; spare tire; lug nut wrench and a tire jack; jumper cables and signal flares; a pocket knife; road atlas and state/local road maps; waterproof matches and a lighter; cell phone charger; sun screen; snacks and bottled water; trash bags for wind protection; an extra quart of oil for your car; hand cleaner and paper towels.  Take the time to also put together a list of family members and contact phone numbers.


5.  Keeping Everyone Safe

Before you pack the car, double-check all seatbelts to ensure they are properly working.  If you have children, double-check the installation of their safety or booster seats.  Cross check the seat with your child’s height and weight.  Anticipate all of your child’s needs – you know them best!  Pack a cooler with snacks and drinks to avoid hunger whining.


6.  Entertaining the Kiddies

Avoid the repetitive “Mom, are we there yet?” question by bringing activities for the children to partake in while on the road.  Some ideas of these would be coloring books, their favorite stuffed animals, flashcards, and other hands-on educational toys.  Also games like “I Spy,” “20 Questions,” “Punch Buggy” work very well to keep their minds off the long car ride.


7.  Don’t Forget the Cameras

Bringing a camera on your road trip is very important.  Everyone will be able to capture their outlook of the trip.  You can assign children the task of taking pictures of license plates from other states to get them involved; and don’t forget to take pictures of places or things you might not ever get to visit again.  When you get home, make sure to upload the pictures to your computer and print out the ones you love!


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