How to stay safe during a spring break road trip

How to stay safe during a spring break road tripIt’s that time of year again. Spring is in the air, the kids have finished their final exams, and everyone is itching to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whether you’re going on a family vacation or your kids are planning a crazy spring break adventure with their friends, safety comes first. If you’re going a road trip, take stock of the following lists of car preparation and safety tips so your journey ends up a happy one.

Pre-Trip

5-Step Car Preparation

  • Tire test – Check tire pressure and tread depth, which should be at least 2/32”. Inflate tires as appropriate or replace before your trip. Inspect your spare.
  • Fluids – Check the following fluids: transmission, differential, power steering, and brake. Don’t forget to top off your windshield wiper fluid and ensure your antifreeze levels are good. Antifreeze should be 50/50 (50% water, 50% antifreeze). Look under your car for any fluid leaks that may indicate a problem.
  • Motor skills – Check your battery and examine cables for any cracks or dirt. Look at your radiator to see if there are any leaks, and inspect hoses for cracks. Replace a dirty air filter, since it can reduce your gas mileage.
  • Components – These are what make your ride comfortable. Test your windshield wipers (replace if needed), headlights, high beams, taillights, AC, and interior lights like the Check Engine Light. Never embark on a trip with any interior indicator lights on.  Also ensure your turn signals, reverse light, and brake light are working.
  • Safety kit – A basic road emergency kit that includes tools, batteries, a first aid kit, jumper cables, a tire jack, and emergency flares is vital for a long-distance drive. Bring water and snacks.

Key Things to Remember

  • Every member of your family should carry ID – a passport and insurance card.
  • Check that the vehicle’s registration is in the car.
  • Make sure someone at home knows where you’re going and has appropriate contact numbers.
  • Find out if your auto insurance covers roadside assistance; if not, consider getting AAA membership for roadside assistance.
  • If you take medications, pack enough for the trip. If you’re going across the border, research regulations for bringing medications across state lines.
  • Pack appropriately for the weather.
  • Bring plenty of cash – if you can’t make it to the ATM or you run into diners or vendors that are “cash only,” you’ll be prepared.
  • Take pillows and sleeping bags, especially if you will be camping.
  • Bring a physical map. Sure, you probably have GPS on your phone, but if something were to happen to your phone, you would need a backup.
  • Do research on your destination: are there dangerous areas you should avoid?
  • Have emergency numbers programmed into your speed dialer.

Get safety measures in place for your spring break road trip

During the Road Trip

  • Take turns driving, and don’t answer texts or make phone calls while it’s your shift on the wheel.
  • Stay on major, well-traveled roads so you can easily get assistance if you need it.
  • Pay careful attention to your surroundings so you can find your way back to your hotel or the main road.
  • If people are planning to drink, make sure there is a designated driver. Do not drink if you are tired, need to be alert, are going to drive, or are pregnant.
  • Stick together in a group whenever possible; if people need to split up, determine a meet-up spot and time and create a method for checking in with one another.
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~ by 2ndtononeservice on March 21, 2014.

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