Road trips are a common American summertime tradition for many families. Since school is out, it’s common for parents to look for interesting things they can do with their kids, whether that means heading to a campground for the weekend or going to visit the grandparents.
As you are planning your route out, it is important to keep crucial safety tips in mind to keep you and your family safe. If you’re going on a road trip with your children this summer, here are some ways you can make your time behind the wheel less dangerous:
- Realize that “highway hypnosis” is a real problem. It’s easy to zone out or doze off behind the wheel when you’re on a road trip, especially if everyone else in the car is lost in their phones or already asleep. If you are having a difficult time focusing in the driver’s seat, switch with your spouse or someone else in the car that has a driver’s license so you can take a much-needed break.
- Get some sleep before the trip. Sure, traffic is lighter at 3 a.m., but do you really want to be on the road at that hour? Don’t start your trip tired — and don’t come home that way, either. Plan stops at hotels or a family member’s home carefully, so that you can actually get some sleep.
- Time your drive carefully. Starting out too late in the day (or heading home at the wrong time) can also put you in danger. Generally, people tend to hit a fatigue point between 1 – 3 p.m., so try to time your trip so that you aren’t on the road during that period.
- Bring snacks, gum, and drinks. Hunger and dehydration can both serve as distractions when you’re driving. They can also make you sleepy. Snacks and drinks can make it easier to stay focused. Gum is helpful, too, since chewing helps increase your general alertness. Make sure you aren’t eating meals while you’re driving since your food can be just as big of a distraction as your cell phone.
- Plan plenty of stops. Don’t try to drive straight through to your destination with no breaks if the trip is a long one. Plan to make some stops so that you can get out, stretch your legs, refresh your mind and get your circulation going.
Despite your best efforts, you may still end up in a wreck if another driver isn’t being as cautious as you. If that happens, worry about getting treatment first before you focus on acquiring compensation.