Summer Road Trip Safety

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Spring and summer vacations are a great time to get out of your comfort zone and go somewhere new. Traveling is not only a way to relax and get a much-needed break from everyday life, it’s an
opportunity to load the family into the car and create some memories.

Road trips are also an exceptional way for adults and kids alike to see the many state and national parks that our country has to offer in a casual, set-your-own-travel-pace way. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind that will allow you and your loved ones to explore safely. Here is a checklist for safe travels.

Before You Leave
Whether you’re traveling by rental car or your own vehicle, be sure to purchase and pack a first aid kit. The contents of should include essentials such as bandages, tensor bandages, gauze, thermometer, tweezers, antiseptic wound cleanser and hand sanitizer. You will never go wrong being over-prepared in this area.

Organize your paperwork. Travel paperwork can take many forms, from itineraries to directions to your destination. Most of the printables needed for a safe and fun road trip can be eliminated by using free apps such as Waze and Google Maps for navigation, TripIt or RoadTrippers for itineraries and iExit and USA Rest Stops apps for all other human needs.

Unfortunate incidents can happen when you’re on vacation, and it’s no fun to be far away from home and have your wallet stolen. Before you leave, scan all your documents, both major and minor, and store on a cloud sites such as Dropbox or This will enable you to figure out quickly what is missing should yours be misplaced or fall into the wrong hands.

If you will be using your car for long-distance driving, take it to the mechanic for a check-up before your departure date. Nothing makes an anticipated travel vacation go sideways quicker than unforeseen car troubles, many of which can be avoided with regular check-ups. A first aid kit for your car might include a sealed jug of water, jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge and a flashlight. Make sure your spare tire is accessible and the tire-changing tools are with it. A roadside assistance subscription can also come in handy.

Another area to always be mindful of is car seat safety. Any family traveling with little ones should take the time to have their child’s car seats inspected to assure they are properly installed. Travelers can log onto their state’s traffic safety office’s website and find a car seat inspection location near them.

More Advance Preparation
It’s likely medical emergencies will not arise while you are on the road, but it’s always a good idea to do a quick internet search that can give you a map of where the closest hospital and emergency rooms would be in case of an emergency. Emergency App, developed by the American Red Cross, is another way to quickly locate medical help for fellow travelers including pets.

Despite several commercials on television touting the benefits of being “spontaneous” and “going where the road takes you,” it’s a wise choice to check with friends where they have stayed and eaten when they traveled to or visited your destination. Word of mouth is the best way to find out if hotels and eating establishments are clean and feel safe. If necessary, consult online travel sites such as TripAdvisor for opinions.

On the Road
In a credit and debit card world, there are still times that cash comes in handy while on vacation. To keep your finances safe, divide your money among several spots. Perhaps you will want to take a little cash along on daily trips, and leave some in the safe at the hotel. Always keep your money and other valuables in more than one place so that if some is stolen or lost, you have something to fall back on.

It may be tempting to limit water intake to reduce bathroom breaks, but our bodies need consistent hydration whether we are on vacation or not. Keep in mind that, during traveling, you will come across many germs, viruses and other unsavory things. You may be putting your body to the test through new physical activities or being outdoors in the sun all day long. Eat well to nourish your body, and be absolutely sure to drink plenty of clean water to stay hydrated. You don’t want to end up hospitalized for heat stroke or dehydration when you could have avoided it.

Summer travel via car can create some of the best memories of your year. With a little foresight, you will be able to stay safe and create wonderful moments that will last a lifetime. ■

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