Down the Pacific Coast Highway or along the Florida Keys — where is your family road tripping this summer? No matter the destination, stay safe with these tips for long road trips.
Complete a Pre-Trip Safety Check
The key to road trip safety is ensuring your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Tackle this road trip safety checklist the week before your big adventure to reduce stress and make sure everything’s good to go. Prioritize these points during your pre-trip inspection:
- Test your battery and replace it if necessary.
- Measure your tires’ tread depth and inflation.
- Change your car’s oil.
- Top off your coolant, transmission, power steering and windshield wiper fluid.
- Replace your key fob battery.
- Check all interior and exterior lights.
Create a Car Emergency Kit
You should always keep a vehicle emergency kit handy, but it’s especially important for summer road trips. For ultimate road trip safety, your kit should have a mix of first aid essentials and survival supplies, like non-perishable food, water, phone charger and flashlight. Also include vehicle supplies that can help in the event of a flat tire, dead battery and more.
Keep Kids and Animals Secure
Our precious cargo can be quite distracting if we’re handing out snacks or calming pets on the highway. A good first step is to ease their anxiety and keep them comfortable, whether that’s with a blankie from home or their favorite treats. You should always secure pets with a harness. If your child is in a car seat, now’s a great time to confirm the car seat is properly fitted.
Know Your Route
Gone are the days of relying on the massive family atlas during a cross-country road trip. But what happens if your GPS is on the fritz or your phone dies? Planning the day’s route in advance will help you prepare for the unexpected. Also consider buying a new paper map to stash in your glovebox.
Plan Your Packing
If you’re storing cargo up top, review your roof’s capacity limits and measurements before the big day. Everything should be properly secured with ratchet straps, both length- and width-wise. Be sure to do a test drive! If you’re playing trunk Tetris, ensure your rear view isn’t obstructed.
Check the Weather
While you’re not likely to encounter a July snowstorm, you never know what summer weather will bring. Tornado season in the Upper Midwest is in June and July, and you might encounter a haboob in Arizona in August. Check your route’s forecast for thunderstorms, hail and extreme heat — then plan accordingly.
Wear Sunglasses and Sunscreen
Shield your eyes and skin from the bright sun with your favorite pair of sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against UVA rays that filter through glass.
Avoid Distractions, Always
It’s up to you to keep yourself and family safe — the simplest way to do this is to always focus on the road and your surroundings. In 2021, fatalities in distraction-related car crashes increased by 12%. Let your passengers help with changing radio stations, looking at the map or checking for amenities on exit signs so you can your focus on the road and the other drivers.
Focus on Safety
At Farm Bureau, we’re committed to preventing distracted driving. Read on for our best tips to stay safe behind the wheel.