It’s Driving Season: Be Safe
4 Tips for a Safe Summer Road Trip
When is the last time you went on a road trip? Chances are that as you got older, the trips got less and less frequent. After all, if you can afford to fly, that’s usually what we choose! But if you’re heading across the state, or across the country, it’s important to be prepared when you hit the open road. Nothing will kill a trip faster than an emergency that can’t be remedied.
To make sure that your summer trip is more fun and less hassle, we have put together the top four tips to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever comes your way on these trips. Of course, if you need an idea of where to go, here are three of them.
Make Sure You’re Road Ready
Well, you’re ready, but is your vehicle? If you have planned far enough ahead, take your vehicle in for a quick tune-up. Make sure to have all the belts, hoses, fluids, AC, oil, and everything checked. You don’t want to get a couple hours, or a couple days out of town and find out that you’re out of washer fluid or worse! Then, the morning of your trip, double check the following points:
- Headlights, turn signals, and brake lights
- Oil level
- Double check for leaks under the vehicle
- Wiper blades
- Tire pressure
When your vehicle is road ready, you can be confident that you’re road ready.
Prep for Emergencies
The hardest part of an emergency is that they’re unexpected. You can mostly plan for them, but you never know exactly when they will happen. If you have the essentials for your car’s trunk all prepped, then you have half the battle done; just make sure everything is fresh and you have batteries for your flashlight! If you don’t have the essentials, here’s a quick list:
- Jumper cables
- First Aid Kit
- Extra water
- Cell phone charger
- Jack and tire iron
- Energy bars
While you likely won’t need a blanket to keep warm during the summer, there are times it could come in handy (especially in the mountains). This is one of those essentials that should always stay in your trunk. Besides, it’s nice to have it with you during an impromptu picnic at the park.
Secure People, Pets, and Possessions
You’re all set. You have your emergency kits ready, you have your vehicle prepped, now it’s time to hit the road! Almost. You have to pack and make sure everyone and everything is secure. Studies show that kids and pets can be much more distracting than your cell phone, so take care to minimize the distractions.
Have children spaced, and ready with entertainment. If possible, they should have an empty seat between them to minimize fighting. Have games, snacks, books, movies, and music at hand so that they can keep their focus in front of them and away from distracting the driver.
Pets can be worse than people. While most of us care for our pets, we often don’t secure them while we drive. On short trips they may do just fine, but get them in the car for longer and they get rowdy. Invest in a travel crate to ensure that you don’t get jumped on while driving.
Too often we just cram it all in and worry about it when we get there. But loading the vehicle properly is as big of a job as loading people properly. Make sure you can easily see out the back window. Maintain load limits on the roof rack if you have a car top carrier (and make sure you’re not too high for low bridges or branches). Take time to secure the possessions in the event of an accident you want them to stay in one place.
Hit the Open Road
You’re all set, now push through to your destination! Slowly though. There’s no need to risk tired driving, which can be more dangerous than drunk driving. Whether you’re alone, or with family, stop every 3 hours or so and stretch the legs. Get a cup of coffee. Do some light calisthenics. And importantly, change drivers if you feel you’re not able to keep your eyes open!
Big Sky Collision Center wants No Crashes!
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, our goal is to be the best auto body shop in Montana. That means we’re dedicated to helping you stay safe on the road so that you don’t actually need our services. Be safe out there, pay attention, and if you do happen to get in a crash, bring your vehicle to Big Sky Collision Center in Billings, MT for the best service around.