Many Tennessee families are already planning a fun road trip sometime this summer. These trips can be great bonding experiences but being on the road always involves some level of risk. The longer the trip, the more risk involved.
To combat that increased risk, here are three things you should keep in mind.
1. Make sure your vehicle is road-trip-ready
Of course, it is critical to carefully check your vehicle to ensure it is in good condition before you head out on the road. It is a good idea to do this far enough in advance that you can arrange any repairs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) provides a helpful list to review as you conduct this vehicle check and prepare for your trip.
2. Remember phones are not the only distraction
While you should avoid using your phone behind the wheel, it is not the only source of distraction, as we have discussed in previous blog posts. On a road trip, you should be aware of distractions pertaining to:
- Kids: Especially on a longer trip, children’s activities in the back seat could potentially distract parents in the front seat. For example, if your children argue or cry, it might require parent intervention and could be a distraction. Just make sure you pull your vehicle over in a safe spot to address your children’s needs, instead of attempting to calm them down while driving. It can help to have a plan to keep your children occupied with movies, games, books, or snacks in the back seat, so you can focus on the road.
- Pets: Having a pet in the car can also be a distraction. They might wander about the inside of the vehicle, make noise, or even nudge the driver. Bringing pets on vacation can be fun, just make sure you have a strategy in place that keeps them from distracting you.
- Sights: Taking scenic routes is often an enjoyable part of road trips, but you must make sure to keep your eyes on the road. Take advantage of scenic points and safely pull off the road to take in the sights, instead of trying to do so while behind the wheel.
Being aware of these distractions is one of the first steps to dealing with or avoiding them.
3. Be prepared
It is always important to drive defensively, but it is even more important when you are on a longer trip. It can be easy for your mind to wander after a long time behind the wheel, but you must stay focused. Stay hydrated and make sure you get enough sleep, so you can stay safe behind the wheel and have a safe trip.