It seems that summer is always more eager to end than it is to begin, and with the shadows getting longer by the day, it will soon be time for coats and rain jackets. Many families and groups of friends are looking to squeeze in just one more vacation before trading in the sandals for boots—and in many cases, that means one last road trip.
A little preparation can help keep everyone in your traveling party safe until you reach home again. As you pack up the car, remember these safety tips for your end-of-summer road trip:
- Planning. You may have already planned out your road music mix or who’s sitting up front in the shotgun seat, but take a minute to consider some logistics. First, you should give your vehicle a once-over to make sure you won’t have any car trouble on the road. If you’re doing the driving, make sure your sunglasses are within easy reaching distance, and that your copilot knows how to read the maps.
- Eating. You might consider the time spent driving as “down time,” but your body is still very much active. It takes energy to stay alert, make decisions, and read the road, so make sure you pack foods that will keep your energy up while driving. Too much sugar encourages an energy “crash” soon after eating, so pack foods high in protein and keep them within easy reach.
- Hydrating. Many drivers forget to drink water or avoid drinking it because they don’t want to spend the time stopping at rest stops. However, sitting behind a churning engine in high summer heat can quickly lead to dehydration, affecting your reaction time. Always keep a water bottle in the front cup holder, and drink at least 16 ounces of water every hour.
- Sleeping. If your trip is long enough that you will have to switch drivers, carefully choose which of your friends will be your copilot on the road. As you drive, make sure the copilot knows of any issues (such as steering pulling to the right or late braking due to increased weight) before he takes the wheel. Finally, always wake up a relief driver at least 30 minutes before trading places to ensure he is not groggy.
- Relaxing. You may be in a hurry to reach your destination, but speeding greatly increases your chance of an accident—meaning you might not make it there at all. Taking your time is all part of enjoying the journey, so always travel at a safe speed. If your stops for the night include drinking alcohol, always make sure you are sober before getting back behind the wheel.
Above All, Make Sure Everyone Wears a Seat Belt!
While you can’t prevent every accident, you can make sure everyone in your vehicle has the best chance of walking away from one. Insist that all of your passengers wear seat belts throughout the entire journey, and keep yours fastened as well. If you know someone who’s loading up the car for a weekend getaway, click the link below to share this article on Facebook to keep everyone safe.