10 Tips for Safer Summer Road Trips

Is there a better time of year for a road trip than summer?

Whether you’re heading to the country, the city or the beach, it’s a wonderful season to chart a course for new adventures. Of course, it’s also smart to think through a few safety essentials. To help you with that task, we’ve created a summer road trip checklist.

1. Make sure your engine is ready for the ride.

Even if you’re careful about providing regular vehicle maintenance, it won’t hurt to have a qualified technician check your car’s brake, coolant, power steering and transmission fluids — especially if you drive an older model automobile.

Plus, don’t forget to make sure your wiper blades are functioning and that all the proper safety restraints (seatbelts, car seats) are in working order.

Additionally, it’s wise to review recent manufacturer recall notices in case there’s something new about which you should be aware regarding your car’s make, model and year.

2. Check your tires — and your spare.

Yes, they’re part of your car, but tires are especially vulnerable to roadway hazards. So, they deserve a little attention.

Check the air in each one, and consider rotating or replacing them, as necessary. Also, take time to ensure the spare tire is ready to go if you should get a flat — and that your lug wrench and jack are in good working condition, too.

3. Consider eye checks for all drivers.

True, eye health is not something we instantly think of when planning a road trip, but it’s smart to confirm your eyesight and eyeglasses are good to go, too.

Older drivers — especially those who typically only drive during daylight hours — may want to consider if they’ve begun to experience a natural decline in night vision.

(Oh, and be sure to pack your sunglasses, which can help you combat distracting sun glare.)

4. Contemplate how you’ll use your smartphone on the road.

Simply put, it’s best to leave your mobile device alone while driving.

Yet, in this age of remote work and “digital nomads,” it’s also possible that you may have to take an incoming call from your office. To keep everyone safe, plan how you’ll handle incoming calls so that you need not take your focus off the road.

Remember: If you need to respond to or send a text, it’s safest to pull over first.

5. Pack (or refresh) your emergency travel kit.

Sure, you’re likely to pass retail stores on most routes, but it’s smart to pack a bag with the following road trip essentials:

  • Car chargers
  • First aid kit (scissors, gauze, bandages, ointments, aspirin, etc.)
  • Emergency flares
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Jumper cables
  • Small tool kit (or multipurpose utility tool)
  • Flashlight, candles and matches
  • Non-perishable food and water
  • Blankets, rain poncho or light jackets
  • Reflective vest

6. Figure out how to keep riders busy.

Distracted driving can be very dangerous, so it’s important to think through how to occupy riders — especially young children — so that the driver isn’t distracted.

Books, puzzles, movies and games are all good options. Consider headsets and earphones to reduce excess noise inside the vehicle.

7. Schedule regular breaks.

This is as important for the riders as it is for drivers, especially on long trips. Many roadside rest stops now offer a place to stretch one’s legs and play areas for kids and pets. And they often feature travel information and clean restrooms.

8. Plan to “brake” for mealtimes.

As tempting as it may be to hit the drive-thru or gas station convenience store, eating while driving is a distraction — and one that can lead to an accident, too.

Since many restaurants offer places for kids and pets to release their wiggles, consider mealtimes another opportunity for everyone to enjoy a break.

9. Don’t forget the keys!

Getting locked out of your car on vacation is no fun. It’s smart to pack an extra battery in case your smart key or keyless entry fob needs a new one. If you’ve got an extra key, plan to bring it along. (And don’t forget to think through how to keep your keys safe when spending time in the water.)

10. Remember to pack essential medicine and health insurance info.

Make sure you’ve got the right prescriptions and healthcare information (e.g., insurance cards) you need on hand for all your merry travelers. And plan to pack it so that it stays readily accessible throughout your journey.

Finally, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got the right insurance for your vehicle. And, if you’ve got auto insurance questions or concerns, trust that RBFCU Insurance Agency is here to help — whatever the time of year. Contact us today for a free quote or consultation.

RBFCU Insurance Agency

Information in this article is general in nature and for your consideration, not as financial advice. Please contact your own financial professionals regarding your specific needs before taking any action based upon this information.

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.