Make your next road trip enjoyable and safe by getting organized before you leave home.
1. Schedule general car maintenance, including hose and fluid checks, prior to your trip. Check air pressure in all tires, including the spare. Replace your wiper blades at least once a year.
2. Pack duct tape. It will seal and hold together many broken car parts long enough for you to get to a service station. Duct tape is one of the most useful tools to pack for any trip. It can mend a hem, repair a tear, seal a leak, secure a bag… Another good tip to remember is that nylon stockings can function as a fan belt in an emergency.
3. Pack a first-aid kit, water, snacks, blankets, old towels, handi-wipes, litterbag and a flashlight with fresh batteries.
4. Simple habits contribute to safe driving. Check your rear-view mirror and blind spots frequently. Always come to a complete stop at stop signs and watch for other cars that just might not heed the stop sign or red light. Stay alert even when driving familiar roadways; complacency is a ticket to disaster.
5. Defensive driving is safe driving. Be conscious of your surroundings — ahead, behind and on both sides.
6. Avoid distractions–map reading, talking/texting on a cell phone, rowdy children, loud noises, etc. When your attention is diverted, you are more likely to make a mistake. Small mistakes create big problems.
7. Keep all doors locked while driving.
8. Obtain updated maps (either paper or electronic) and plot out primary and secondary routes before you leave home.
9. Schedule frequent rest stops to stretch your legs.
10. ID your children with special bracelets or necklaces or information placed in the insoles of their shoes. For more information, Google “ID for children.” Don’t forget to ID their backpacks, personal items and strollers. Always carry a recent photo of your child for identification purposes. A tip from Disney World: Replace regular shoelaces with brightly colored ones for quick and easy identification.
11. Pack surprise toys, pillows and blankets in the car when traveling with children. Hang a plastic shoe bag or back-of-the-seat organizer for toys, games, crayons, coloring books and litter. Children will enjoy using a lap tray for play games, coloring or holding a book.
12. Do not let your children lie down. They are not protected by seat belts in a prone position. Never put infants and young children in the front seat.
13. Do not store books, equipment and other material on the shelf behind the back seat. Sudden stops cause these objects to be thrown forward with tremendous force.
14. Daytime running lights help other drivers see you better.
15. Stay sober. Stay awake. Stay calm. Stay safe!
“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” Ernest Hemingway