You’ve probably thought about a family road trip in the past. After all, they’re a great way to get out, see the country, take a trip somewhere new, and spend time with your loved ones. At the same time, it may seem overwhelming, and easier to fly or take a shorter trip. Well, long road trips are not as difficult as you may fear. You just have to take them on a step-by-step basis. This includes taking precautions to make sure that your family is safe for the entirety of the trip.
At a glance, taking a road trip may seem like any other long car ride, but it is much more challenging. For one, you’re going to have to balance the needs of everyone in your family being in a confined space over an extended period. Secondly, you need to do it while making forward progress and making sure everyone is safe.
But what are the precautions that you should take before going on a family road trip? Here are six different ones to start with for your road trip car safety checklist:
Be Prepared for an Accident on the Road
If there is one thing that can derail a family road trip in a hurry, it’s an accident. Even if you’re the safest driver in the world, there is no certainty that you won’t find yourself in an accident. After all, contending with severe weather conditions, poor road conditions, and other drivers can take things out of your control. So, how can you be prepared for the possibility of an accident?
It starts with coming up with a plan for the possibility you end up in an accident. Having access to a 24 hour towing company is a great place to start. This way, no matter where you are or what time of day it is, you won’t be stranded at the point of the accident. Instead, you can get your vehicle to a mechanic to get it fixed as quickly as possible, so you can get back on the road. Beyond needing to be towed, make sure that you’re doing the little things to be safe in your vehicle. This includes wearing seatbelts and not allowing for a distracted driver. Furthermore, if the damage is severe, having a plan to rent a car is important.
In the case that an accident causes an injury, it’s worth contacting an auto accident injury attorney as well. They will be able to help you in the legal process following an accident and make sure that you recover any damages done to you by an accident.
Severe Weather Should Be Something You’re Ready For
For your road trip car safety checklist, being prepared for severe weather should be at the top. Depending on what time of year it is, and where in the country you are, you need to be ready for extreme weather. For instance, a drive to Florida’s beaches during the summertime is likely going to mean that you have to drive through lightning storms so severe that you can’t see the ground in front of your car. However, driving in New England during the winter months can mean sleet and blizzards, which leads to slippery and dangerous road conditions. The different weather issues vary from there, depending on where you are, and they’re something that you should always be aware of, as they can give you major issues. In particular, if you’re not used to these weather conditions, they can cause major issues.
This goes towards why it’s so important to plan ahead before you take a trip. If you know what to expect, you can at least prepare to drive through these hazardous conditions. Furthermore, if you pay attention to weather reports, you can do your best to avoid this severe weather entirely. However, if you do get caught in this weather, it’s important to slow down, take your time, and get a feel for the conditions. Then, be honest with yourself. If you can’t handle the weather, it’s not worth the risk. Pull off and wait for it to pass. Also, get a feel for whether your car can handle the conditions. There is a good chance that it may not be able to perform the same way on ice as it does on regular roads, for instance.
Weather can also damage a vehicle. Hail, for instance, is known to crack windshields and dent cars. This requires repairs almost immediately following, or you could run into long-term issues. The technique used is called paintless dent removal. It’s a technique that sees a trained technician push and pulls out dents, so they don’t have to fill them and point over the spaces.
Expect Children to Need Special Attention
Think about all the different things your kids need when you’re at home. They go from needing the bathroom, to have too much energy built-up, to needing food or medicine. It can be exhausting to manage for parents. In the car, it’s going to be no different. Your children are still going to have a long list of needs. That’s before you consider that there is going to be less to keep them entertained in the car. In other words, you’re going to want to come prepared, and prep the car for every possible need that your children are going to have.
This starts with things like snacks and water to keep them energized and full. From there, you should consider some form of child health care products. Antibiotics, band-aids, and other small things like this can be found in a first aid kit. Furthermore, if a child has any severe allergies, it’s good to keep an EpiPen handy too. If your child has a severe medical issue, it’s still important to take a break from your trip and go to an urgent care clinic instead of trying to handle it in the car.
Of course, there are plenty of other great things that you can bring for your kids. For instance, a portable toilet for kids who can’t wait to go as long as the adults might be a good idea to keep your time under control. Toys or books to keep them entertained work great too. No matter what you do choose to pack for your children, though, just make sure that they have everything to stay happy and healthy for the duration of the trip.
Have a Plan on Where to Sleep
For your road trip car safety checklist, you want to make sure you know where you’ll be sleeping every night. It’s the fear of any traveler in a strange home or hotel room- bed bugs. These small parasites are known to live on fabric, like a mattress and sheets, biting those who sleep in them. They bite to feed on the blood of whomever they bite. Depending on how much you are bit, and how badly you react, this can become a major issue for people, as they live irritated and unsightly marks over your skin. Even if it’s not bed bugs, there are a thousand different things that could go poorly about a hotel, from the neighborhood it sits in, the cost of the room, to the water pressure in the shower. In other words, being in a random hotel room is a gamble.
Unfortunately, for anyone on a long road trip, if you don’t have a plan on where to sleep, this can become an issue. If it’s late at night and you don’t have any other options, you could very well be in a no-win situation. That’s why it’s important to review hotels in advance and have a plan on where to stay before you hit the road. This way, you know exactly what you’re getting out of the room.
For families taking a road trip in an RV, this is going to mean knowing where there is an RV campsite. You can’t park RVs at any random place, and because of this, you need to specifically plan where to park overnight, while making sure that those campsites offer you everything that you’re going to need.
Create a Safety Checklist
Before you get into your car and start driving, you should make a road trip car safety checklist to prevent any issues once you hit the road. More accurately, you should make a road trip safety checklist for before you go and once you’re in the car.
That first checklist is preparation for your car before the trip. This means making sure that it is safe to drive and everything is up to date. At the most basic, this should include making sure that it is fully registered and won’t expire during the trip, your license is up to date, and it’s inspected if you’re in a state that requires that kind of thing. From there, it’s a matter of making sure there are no issues with the vehicle. Change your oil, get your tires rotated, check the filter, and top off all the fluids in your car. This way you won’t run into any issues with these items. Other things that you may want to consider in your pre-drive checklist include that the wiper blades aren’t damaged, all your lights are working, and that there is proper grip on your tires. You will also want to get a gas canister to keep in the car in case of an emergency.
From there, you should have a list of everything that you’ll need once you’re in the car. This is going to include drinks and snacks, which many people find helps them concentrate and helps them drive longer distances. It will include items like pillows and entertainment for the passengers in the car. From there you will need to add a first aid kit, sunscreen, sunglasses, CBD wellness products, and set the car to a comfortable temperature. Just make sure you don’t add anything to distract the driver, as this can quickly become a danger on the road.
Stay Vigilant of Everything Else on the Road
As the driver, you need to do everything in your power to stay constantly aware of anything on the road. This means that if you are struggling during the drive in any way, it’s important to speak up. Someone else can take over driving, or you can stop for the day. It’s better and safer than trying to drive when you’re tired or can’t concentrate.
It’s important to, in particular, be aware of other drivers on the road. Think about a bicyclist who might drift into the road. That’s immediately a dangerous situation for both you and them, and the last thing that you want is to have to deal with a bicycle accident attorney. Of course, they’re just the start of the potential hazards that you might see on the road, which includes cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, and animals among other things.
The best way to avoid any major issues with this is to make sure to get a full night’s sleep before going out on the road. It’s better to get a late start and be fully rested than to put yourself at risk while driving tired. You also need to make sure to limit distractions while driving, this means that you can’t play on your phone and keep music, podcasts, or the radio at a reasonable level. Furthermore, if a situation does arise, don’t deal with it while driving. Pull over to take care of the problem. This way you can be as safe as possible.
Going on a road trip with your family is a great thing. It’s also a challenging way to travel at times, though. Don’t let that scare you off from doing it, though. As long as you take proper precautions, you shouldn’t run into any issues. Just remember to make sure that you are prepared for the trip, have everything your kids will need, keep yourself from being distracted, and plan for hazards and issues that may arise. This way you can have the family road trip of your dreams.