Of the many great things about summertime, few match the fun of a family road trip. Before you hook up that new boat or camper, or hit the road with your family or friends in your car, SUV, pickup, or RV, take the time to review some summer travel safety tips. Prevention and planning may take a little time up front, but will spare you from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown—or worse yet, a highway crash—later. In this two part series, you’ll get important tips for your safety while on the road and for a safe summer.
Before You Go
Regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing breakdowns. If your vehicle has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, it should be in good condition to travel. If not— or you don’t know the service history of the vehicle you plan to drive—schedule a preventive maintenance checkup with your mechanic right away.
Protect the Children
When traveling with children, take every precaution to keep them safe. Make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed and that any children riding with you are in the car seat, booster seat, or seat belt best suited to protect them. All children 13 and younger should ride in the back seat. And remember, all passengers in your vehicle should be buckled up!
Click on NHTSA’s child passenger safety recommendations to find out how to select the right seat for your child’s age and size. To learn more and find a free inspection site near you, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm.
Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time.
All passengers must agree to wear their seat belts every time they are riding or driving in your vehicle. Set the example by always wearing your seat belt.
More Travel Safety Tips – Heat Kills!
There are other dangers to children in and around cars that you should know. One of those dangers is hyperthermia, or heatstroke. Heatstroke can occur when a child is left unattended in a parked vehicle. Never leave children alone in the car—not even for a few minutes or with the engine running. Vehicles heat up quickly; if the outside temperature is in the low 80s°, the temperature inside the vehicle can reach deadly levels in just a few minutes – even with a window rolled down. A child’s body temperature rises 3 to 5 times faster than that of an adult.
Even when children are not inside a vehicle, it can be dangerous for them. Before you back out of a driveway or parking spot, prevent back overs by walking around your vehicle to check for children running and playing. When children play, they are often oblivious to cars and trucks around them. They may believe that motorists will watch out for them. Furthermore, every vehicle has a blind zone. As the size and height of a vehicle increases, so does the blind zone area. Large vehicles, trucks, SUVs, RVs, and vans, are more likely than cars to be involved in back overs.
Be sure to lock your vehicle’s doors at all times when it’s not in use. Put the keys somewhere that children can’t get access to them. Children who enter vehicles on their own with no adult supervision can be killed or injured by power windows, seat belt entanglement, vehicle rollaway, heatstroke or trunk entrapment.
Visit www.safercar.gov/parents to find out more about how to keep children safe in and around vehicles.
Remember that long trips can be tough on children—so, in turn, tough on you. Plan enough time to stop along the way to take a group stretch, get something to eat and drink, return any calls or text messages, and change drivers if you’re feeling tired or drowsy. Consider staying overnight at a hotel or family resort. It can make the trip easier and less tiring for everyone—and more of an adventure, too. Bring along a few favorite books, videos, or soft toys to keep little ones content and occupied. The trip will seem to go faster for them, and keep you from being distracted every time they ask, “Are we there yet?”
Don’t forget to come back and read part two and learn about our responsibilities and important travel safety tips for this summer, and all year.
(Taken from NHTSA’s article on Cool Tips for a Safe Summer-2015)