10 Summer Road Trip Rules to Keep Your Family Safe

family looking at a road map

Ah, the summer road trip. Driving through those amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties, ignoring those non-stop "are we there yet?" questions. Just last night we made a long drive out of the city to a country haven in upstate New York. 

We saw deer everywhere -- on the side of the road sometimes bright-eyed and alive, sometimes unfortunately dead. And as it grew later, we started getting sleepy. We made it to our destination safely at last around midnight, but it reminded me of the importance of road trip safety.

Here are 10 essential safety tips for your next road trip. Drive safely, everyone!


1. Pack water. Even though there are gas stations all along the way -- you just never know. What if you get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in 100-degree weather and the air conditioner gives out? Water.

2. Stay awake. You know when you're feeling tired. Before you fall asleep at the wheel and crash, pull over. Take a little cat nap or, if you have another driver with them, let them take over.

3. Watch out for critters at night. Maybe it's just me, but I see more and more deer near (or in!) the road at night every year.

4. Be polite with your brights. You need them at night on lonely, rural roads. But dim them when another car approaches you so you don't blind the other driver. Be careful not to blind the drivers ahead of you, either.

5. Check your car seats and booster seats. Make sure everything works and is in good shape. Double-check to see if your car seat has been recalled.

6. Pack an emergency kit: 


Warm blankets

A flashlight

Jumper cables


Tools to change a tire

A fully charged cellphone

A first-aid kit

7. Wear sunscreen. The sun's rays can penetrate car windows -- true story! 

8. Make sure your cellphones are charged. This is in case you need emergency assistance or need directions.

9. Check for loose items. Kids will have their toys and gadgets, but make sure you don't have other items that could fly around and hit you in the head while you're driving.

10. Get a tune-up. Before you even leave have a mechanic check out your tires, air conditioning, battery, belts, and fluids.

Are you planning any road trips this summer?


Image ©iStock.com/skynesher

Read More >