With long days and short nights, good weather across the nation and no school, summer is the best time to take the family out to experience one of the nation's most iconic vacations, a road trip. But before hitting the pavement, Americans are advised to follow a few basic preparation guidelines to ensure maximum enjoyment and minimum roadside difficulties.
Tips for a Safe Road Trip
The key to the perfect family road trip lies in good preparation. With more vehicles on the road than ever before (exacerbating risk factors for drivers and passengers), being prepared for anything means having the tools and knowledge to overcome potential obstacles.
Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a list of preparation checklist items that families should tend to before taking off on their cross-country adventure. That list includes important tips like:
Ensure the vehicle's air conditioning is in good working order to prevent discomfort and heat-related illnesses while traveling.
Check under the hood and examine all belts and hoses for wear and tear. Replace any that look frayed or damaged.
Use the NHTSA's Recalls Lookup Tool to check for vehicular safety recalls. Ensure any recalls are addressed before using a vehicle for a road trip.
Closely inspect the tires for wear, damage, and low inflation pressure. Ensure the tires are in good condition and properly inflated before departure.
Double-check the vehicle's coolant, brake, transmission, power steering, and windshield fluid. Ensure all fluids are topped up and that there are no leaks.
Use the free service offered at auto-parts stores to check the vehicle's battery. Replace if the battery is not performing well.
Double-check the function of all lights (including emergency hazard lights), the vehicle's horn, and wiper blades.
Inspect all seat belts and ensure everyone traveling in the car will have a working seat belt to secure them.
The NHTSA also recommends stocking the vehicle with emergency items like:
Basic repair tools
Candles and flares
Tire pressure gauges
Car jack and spare tire
Work gloves and duct tape
Spare cell phone and charger
Flashlight and spare batteries
Up-to-date local and national maps
Emergency blankets, towels, and coats
First aid kit (with instructions on how to use it)
Rental Car Insurance
Some families choose to rent a car for a road trip rather than add the miles and wear and tear to the family vehicle. When choosing a car rental for a road trip, always choose full insurance coverage options to cover the driver, all passengers, and the car.
Personal Injury Tips for Inter-State Travel
Any personal injury is always unwelcome, but injuries sustained while traveling carry the additional complication of being far from home and away from the family physician, emergency contacts, and friends who can come over and help out at a moment's notice.
Should an accident occur during a road trip, families should do the following:
Call 911 and remain calm.
Collect the contact and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident.
Follow the instructions and recommendations of emergency response personnel.
Seek medical attention for all individuals involved in the accident.
Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as all medical emergencies are addressed.
A personal injury is always unwelcome. But when injuries do occur, victims need professional help to ensure they can overcome whatever challenges may follow. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while traveling, please call NR&S Law at 855.977.6670.
 NHTSA. "Summer Driving Tips." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. nhtsa.gov
 NHTSA. "Safety Issues & Recalls." National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2022. nhtsa.gov