Source: Jerry Wang Photography.
Ten Summer Road Trip Driving Safety Tips
Before You Go
- Check the pressure on your vehicles’ tires, including the spare, monthly. A good way to do this is to use a tire pressure gauge that you keep in your car. The correct pressure for your tires is listed on the driver’s doorframe and in the vehicle’s owner manual.
- Make sure to inspect your tires for signs of excessive or irregular wear. One nifty test for this is the Lincoln’s head test. Simply place in the tire’s tread with his head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of his head, you have less than 1/16 of an inch of tread and need to replace your tires. Likewise, if you find irregular wear tread patterns, you need to rotate and/or realign your tires before you leave
- Summer can be a harsh time for wiper blades with the often intense summer heat. Ensure that you examine your blades for wear and tear before you leave and replace them if necessary.
- Check the level on the cooling system and flush or refill it if the level isn’t adequate. You should see markings on the side of the coolant overflow tank indicating the high and low levels for your car. Additionally, a low coolant level can actually cause your car to have no heat.
- Check your oil, brake fluid, automatic transmission, and power steering levels before you leave. Ensure that each of these fluid levels are full and take your vehicle in to be serviced if any fluid leakage is present.
- Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children, so ensure that you check for your children in the back seat every time that you leave your car. A car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees in ten minutes and that temperature can reach 110 degrees at an outside temperature of 60 degrees. Additionally, a child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees which makes bringing them with you essential.
- Power windows cause many injuries to children’s fingers, wrists, and hands. To ensure that your kids are safe, teach them not to play with the window switches and not to stand on passenger arm rests. Also, properly restrain your kids in car seats or seat belts and check that their limbs are clear from the windows before raising them. If possible, utilize your vehicle’s power window lock switch to prevent them from playing with the windows.
- Unused seat belts and belts that have a retractor that locks if pulled all the way out can lead to some kids being entangled within the belt. To ensure that this doesn’t happen to your child, always ensure that they are properly restrained and make sure to teach them not to play with seat belts. You can also buckle unused seat belts, pull the belt out the way to the end without yanking, to ensure that they cannot play with unused seat belts.
- Younger children often enjoy playing in or around cars where they can end up trapped in a trunk which can lead to heatstroke or asphyxiation since temperatures can rise very quickly. Always supervise your children when they are in or around vehicles and lock your car doors and trunks as well as ensure that your keys are away from your kids. Additionally, teach your children that trunks are made for carrying cargo and not for playing and keep your rear fold-down seats closed/locked to keep them from climbing into the trunk from inside the car.
- When the key is in the ignition and turned to accessory mode, it is possible for the vehicle to be set in motion if a child moves the gear selector while alone in the car. This occurrence can frighten children and cause them to jump out of the car which can lead to injury. To prevent this, teach your children not to play in or around cars and never leave keys in the car. For extra precaution, engage your emergency brake every time you park.
Suggested Emergency Roadside Kit
- Cell phone
- First aid kit
- Flares and a white flag
- Jumper cables
- Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
- Work gloves and a change of clothes
- Basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak!)
- A jug of water and paper towels for cleaning up
- Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
- Extra windshield washer fluid