The summer is here, and we’re all developing a sense of wanderlust. This is especially true given that most of our trips were canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19. Although we are all anxious to take our families on those summer adventures we promised, let’s not forget to take proper precautions to ensure everyone has a good time and stays safe.
Table of Contents
- 1 Situations to Prepare for
- 2 1. Check Tires
- 3 2. Have a Good Spare Tire
- 4 3. Check Recalls
- 5 4. Understand State Laws
- 6 5. Child Protection
- 7 6. Create a Vehicle Safety Checklist
- 8 7. Create an Emergency Items Checklist
Situations to Prepare for
When you’re traveling, a lot can go wrong. So, it’s essential to prepare for specific scenarios that are possible while you’re on the road. Some of these scenarios include:
- Car accidents
- Running out of gas
- Getting lost
- Flat Tire
- Dead battery
The truth is, you can’t prepare for everything, and we can play the “What-If?” game all day. However, it’s important to have a plan in case these situations occur. Furthermore, by doing simple prep work before your trip, you could prevent a lot of these scenarios.
Unsure of where to start when preparing for your road trip? We took the liberty of providing you with everything you will need to do before you hit the road. Here are seven safety tips to make sure you are prepared for any situation.
1. Check Tires
Tires are one of the most essential parts of your vehicle for obvious reasons; however, the quality of a tire varies. Frequent inspection is needed to make sure they are up to date. According to the NHTSA, 612 total motor vehicle fatalities resulted from tire-related crashes in 2019 alone. This goes to show the importance of having a good set of wheels.
Maintaining proper maintenance throughout the life of your tires can be beneficial in more ways than one. Not only will well-maintained tires help you stay safe on the road, but they can also limit your environmental footprint by improving your fuel economy. That means fewer trips to the gas station while you’re going cross-country.
Check Tire Ratings
You can even check the ratings of your tires for those of you looking to purchase new ones. This is also useful to see how your current tires compare with the features of other brands.
2. Have a Good Spare Tire
In addition to having a good set of tires on your vehicle, it is also essential to have a spare in case you need it. It is important to note that this spare tire should not be your new tire for the rest of your trip. It is only recommended that you drive up to 50 miles total with a traditional donut-type spare.
This will give you enough time to get to the nearest repair shop to replace your original tire. Make sure that you drive no faster than 50 mph on your spare tire. Also, prolonged use of a spare tire can cause further damage to your vehicle. To avoid this damage, be sure to get it replaced as soon as you can.
Have a Jack and Know How to Use It
In this day in age, we rely heavily on services to come out and change our tires for us. If you are stranded in a desolate area, you may need to rely on your know-how to get the job done. That is why it is crucial to have the equipment required if you would ever need to change your tire.
Luckily, a car jack and spare tire are standard with most vehicles. However, you should know how to use that equipment. Refer to your owner manual for any questions you have about your particular jack and vehicle.
3. Check Recalls
Millions of vehicles are recalled each year in the United States. Unfortunately, some of these recalls go unnoticed and can cause incidents while you’re out on the road. Recalls can be made when manufacturers have identified a defect that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety. Furthermore, recalls occur if the manufacturer suspects that the defect exists in multiple vehicles of the same design and manufacturer.
NHTSA’s Tool for Identifying Recalls
Being aware of these defects can help you prevent unnecessary injury in the future. Fortunately, the NHTSA has provided a tool that will enable you to stay up to date on recall information. By going to NHTSA.gov/recall, you can enter your vehicle’s VIN to determine if your vehicle needs repairs.
Understanding vehicle recalls will prevent you from suffering an injury due to someone else’s mistake. If you have suffered an injury and find out it was due to a manufacturer’s defect, you could be entitled to compensation.
4. Understand State Laws
If you find yourself crossing from state to state, it would be in your best interest to brush up on some of the state laws that may be different from where you are from. If you find yourself in a car accident on your road trip in another state, for example, you might wonder what to do next. Here are a couple of laws to be aware of.
Some states, like Ohio, have shared fault laws. This means that if the accident was partially your fault, that would limit the amount of compensation you receive. This is only if your portion of fault does not exceed 50%. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and did not have your seatbelt on, your compensation would be limited since your injuries were partially your fault.
At-Fault States vs. No-Fault States
Although Ohio has shared fault laws, they are also an at-fault state. At-fault states require you to file a claim with the at-fault insurer if you’re hurt in an accident, and the at-fault driver is 100% responsible. Another example of an at-fault state is South Carolina.
However, some states aren’t considered at-fault states. No-fault states, like Florida, limit your options in terms of compensation. Instead of filing a claim with the at-fault insurer, each party relies on their own insurance for compensation. That is why no-fault states require you to have no-fault insurance, or personal injury protection insurance. With this insurance, you will be covered up to $10,000 to cover your expenses due to an accident.
5. Child Protection
If you decide to bring your young ones with you on the next family vacation, you may need a few more safety proactive measures, particularly the following.
If you have young children, you are probably aware that there are numerous kinds of car seats.
Each has merit and is valid depending on what you’re looking for. Make sure that you check your car seat’s ease-of-use rating to make sure you have a user-friendly experience when securing your child.
Once you select the right car seat, It’s important to know how to install your child’s car seat properly to ensure that they will be safe in the event of an accident.
Keep Your Baby Cool
A child’s body temperature rises much faster than adults. Being aware of this will help you understand the importance of keeping your car cool. In 2019, a total of 53 children died from heatstroke. Although this is a rare occurrence, it is something to keep in mind when traveling in high temperatures.
6. Create a Vehicle Safety Checklist
Maintaining a properly running vehicle is essential if you’re planning a long trip. It’s vital to leave no stone unturned when you set off on your adventure. If you fail to fix issues as they arise, they could come back to haunt you down the road.
Items to include on your vehicle safety checklist include:
- Oil Check
- Battery Levels
- Cooling System
- Wiper blades
The best way to avoid an emergency is to prevent it in the first place. If you want to make sure your vehicle is in top shape, you can check these car functions by yourself or visit your local maintenance shop to have a mechanic check it for you.
7. Create an Emergency Items Checklist
It is challenging to determine what you will need if you encounter an emergency. However, creating a list of possible items can put you in an excellent position to tackle any issues that come your way.
A few emergency items to consider are:
- Extra cans of gas
- Extra Water
- Extra Food
- Phone Charger
- Jumper Cables
- Tire Gauge
Following this list will give you a good start on acquiring things you may not have thought of. Although a map is an old-school way of doing things, you never know when your technology could fail you. In this case, it is always important to keep a map handy and know how to read it.
Before you embark on your next journey, make sure you run through these tips to ensure you stay safe. Being prepared is half the battle. Furthermore, you may find that these tips could save not only your life but the lives of the ones you love.