Summer road trips are often memorable experiences for families, but accidents can make sure a trip is remembered for the wrong reasons. A little preparation and brushing up on some skills can ensure that your trip is accident-free. Follow these tips and enjoy your summer vacation plans safely.
Get Your Car Ready for the Trip
If you're traveling by car this summer, you'll want to make sure your vehicle is in good shape for the trip. Schedule some maintenance with your mechanic or take some time to do it yourself. When going over your car, be sure to check:
- Tire pressure
- Tire treads
- Oil levels
- Wiper blades
- Fluid levels
- Spare tires
If you find anything wrong in your inspection, fix it or take it to a professional. It won't hurt to brush up on your skills before the trip, however. Learn how to add fluids and oil, check tire pressure, replace wiper blades, and change or fill a tire. Should something happen on the road, you'll be well equipped to take care of the problem.
If you are unfamiliar with changing a tire, it is best to learn it before the trip. Look up a tutorial, and practice changing a tire at home. If you experience a flat on the road, you can be back on your way in a much shorter time than if you had to wait around for roadside assistance. Before you leave, make sure you've packed all the necessary tools, including a jack, the right size tire iron, and your spare tire. You may also want to invest in a small automotive tool kit and a roadside assistance kit that contains items such as reflective triangles and vests, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight. The proper tools can help you get yourself out of a bad situation. Investing in a roadside assistance membership can also ensure that you are completely prepared for anything.
Pack for the Trip
Now that your car is ready and you've gathered all your safety supplies, it's time to pack the car. Make sure all emergency supplies are easily accessible when you load up. You wouldn't want to unpack all your luggage or camping equipment in the dark just to reach a flashlight. Prepare for your trip by stocking up on a variety of snacks and drinks, including lots of water. Hot weather and dehydration go hand in hand, and heat exhaustion can ruin your vacation. Keep kids entertained with games, books, or movies, and make sure all your supplies are easy to reach. Don't forget to keep car chargers for cell phones and handheld game systems handy. Pack a GPS device, as well as printed directions. If you lose signal or run out of battery, printed directions can keep you on course.
Weather can vary widely between home and your destination. Make sure that you know the forecast for your destination and the route there. If you were to get stuck on the side of the road in the wrong clothing for the weather, you could spend an uncomfortable or even dangerous few hours waiting for help. Pack appropriate clothes for the entire family so you can be ready for any weather changes.
Heading Out on Your Trip
The night before you leave, try to get a full night's rest. Driving while tired is as dangerous as driving drunk. Your reaction time is slowed and your judgment is impaired, so be sure to pull over or switch drivers when you start to get tired. Make sure that you and your passengers wear seatbelts for the whole trip. Seatbelts can ensure that a serious car accident doesn't become fatal.
When on the road, be sure to reduce distractions. Ask a passenger to navigate and handle the music and snacks for the trip, so you can focus on driving. Be sure to drive carefully and allow yourself extra time to react to unfamiliar roads. Reduce your speed for poor weather or nighttime driving. Summer celebrations can increase the number of drunk drivers on the road, so keep your distance from erratic drivers and report suspected drunk drivers to the police.
Taking precautions can reduce the chances of an accident, but other people's negligence may still cause an accident. If you or a family member are injured as a result of someone else's carelessness, you may be able to claim compensation. At Komie & Morrow, LLP, our Austin personal injury attorneys have over 50 years of collective experience to fight for your case. We can help you with your claim, and we are dedicated to helping our injured clients recover the damages they deserve for their pain and suffering. Contact our firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.