There’s nothing like hitting the open road during the summer on an unforgettable journey. Before you get caught up planning your next trip, don’t overlook safety on the road this summer. Here are some easy safety precautions you can take to remain safe when far from home, brought to you by the staff at American Tri-Star, a leading provider of auto insurance in San Diego.
1. Keep an Emergency Kit in the Car
Keeping emergency supplies in your trunk can save you from a major headache if you run into car problems or someone gets hurt on an excursion. A basic car emergency kit should include a flashlight, water bottles, an old towel, jumper cables, signaling devices, and first aid supplies.
2. Plan Your Route
Being prepared and planning your route ahead of time can save you time and help you avoid stressful and dangerous areas on your trip. Map out your drive and give yourself a good understanding of the route. Look for potential trouble spots like construction areas and heavy traffic. You can also plan appropriate places to stop for the night to avoid fatigued driving. Make plans to stop and rest after no more than eight hours of driving to reduce your risk of an accident.
3. Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Ready for the Trip
The last thing you want during a road trip is to find yourself stranded in the middle of the desert because your car broke down. Before hitting the open road, make sure your car is in great condition and ready for days of driving in the heat. Here are the most important things to check:
- Fluids, including the brake fluid, coolant, windshield fluid, and oil (get an oil change before the trip)
- Air pressure (should meet your manufacturer’s recommendations)
- Tires (look for tears and bulges in the side wall and make sure you have at least 1/16″ tread left)
- Battery (make sure it has a strong charge and clean terminals)
- Air filter (affects indoor air quality and supplies the engine with clean air)
- Signals and lights (it’s unsafe if they don’t work)
4. Minimize Distractions
Every year, distracted driving claims almost 3,500 lives, according to the NHTSA. Your focus should always be on driving. Do what you can to minimize distractions, especially if you are driving with children or friends. Do not use your cell phone or eat while driving, and have your GPS loaded with your destination. Keep children entertained during the trip so they won’t be a distraction. If you need to change your route, call someone, or help the kids get in the backseat, pull over first.
5. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
The three greatest threats you’re likely to face on the road are distracted driving, speeding, and fatigued driving. Giving yourself time to enjoy your trip, stretch your legs, get some air, and see the sights can help you stay alert and avoid speeding to make up for lost time. Focus on the experience and making memories, not racing to your destination.
6. Brush Up on Defensive Driving Skills
During the summer, you will be sharing the road with other motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Practice defensive driving and make sure you maintain proper distance between yourself and other vehicles, especially motorcycles, which can stop faster than cars. Always signal before changing lanes or turning, and watch for pedestrians. Brush up on your defensive driving skills by taking a course. You may even qualify for a discount on your car insurance for completing a driver safety course.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your insurance is up to date before heading out on a road trip this summer. For affordable auto insurance quotes, San Diego drivers can turn to American Tri-Star. To receive a free quote, call 619-272-2100 today.