One of the best ways for families to spend time together is to take a road trip. While a road trip sounds like a great idea, it comes with unique challenges. However, the greatest consideration is the family’s safety. If you have not tried taking a long road trip in the past, here are some tips to keep everyone safe on your first trip:
1. Service Your Car before the Trip
Before you embark on your road trip, you must ensure that all your car’s parts are in good condition before you start the journey. Otherwise, you might have to face several stopovers along the way. The best thing to do is to take it to a qualified mechanic for inspection. Let the mechanic check the air pressure, brakes, lights, oil, engine, air filter, and air conditioning among other things. Do not ignore this step even if you had your car serviced recently. Many road accidents occur because one of the cars involved developed mechanical problems.
2. Ensure that all Car Seats are Comfortable
During a road trip, your family will be seated for long hours. You do not want to end the road trip with back pain or any other complications. Check to make sure all the seats are comfortable and adjustable. Many people tend to forget about the back seats and assume the kids will just be fine. Ensure that the seats are comfortable in all reclining positions. If you have a very young child, you can get a car seat stroller. The best baby strollers have a frame and structure that you can lock on to a car seat. The baby car seat may be more comfortable than the normal car seat.
3. Carry a Safety Kit
The first thing you should pack in your car before your trip is a safety kit. The kit should include a first aid kit and other essential items such as a flashlight, flares, warm blankets, and clean water. Other essential items include a toolbox which contains everything you need to change a tire, jumper cables, and a charged cell phone. You should always have a spare tire in your car. Learn how to handle different emergencies as well like a tire burst or an injury. A quick online lesson on first aid can help.
4. Travel Light
While you need to pack everything you need for the trip in advance, try as much as possible to travel light. Encourage everyone to pack just what he or she needs for that particular trip. Your car will already be loaded because everyone is on board. Recheck the cargo to ensure that you have no excess baggage. If you have heavy loads like suitcases and baby strollers, keep them low. You can place light luggage anywhere but heavy loads should be kept below the seats to keep the car in balance.
5. Get the Right Travel Gear
A spontaneous trip is a great idea, but you have to ensure that everyone is dressed for it. Consider the weather at your destination and possible weather changes. It is wise to carry warm clothing at all times even if the weather seems hot. Sometimes temperatures drop suddenly. Do not forget sunglasses and hats for the children. Direct sun rays do not just harm your eyes, but steal the joy of the trip. Consider the gear you’ll need for any activities that may require special clothing like hiking, camping, or swimming. You may have to take a shopping trip before the road trip to ensure that you have the right gear.
6. Get Enough Sleep
You are at a high risk of causing a fatal accident if you drive for long hours while exhausted. You need to stay focused on the road and see obstacles or roadblocks from miles away. The excitement for the first family road trip may get everyone carried away. However, the driver and passengers should get enough rest the night before the trip. Consider sleeping at your destination and traveling back the following day if the trip is long. Everyone needs enough rest to enjoy the trip.
7. Be Careful on the Road
No matter how exciting the trip is, you must stay focused on the road. You cannot take risks like over speeding or overtaking trucks while on the road. Also, ensure that everyone has their seat belts on throughout the trip. Always drive at a comfortable speed and pay keen attention to road signs. Some of the distractions will come from inside the car. If you are a single parent traveling with kids, ask another adult to join you and watch the kids. Constant demands for attention from the kids may distract you when driving.
8. Consider Your Children’s Safety
While inspecting the car, ensure that the safety locks at the back and the buckles on the seat belts are working. Ensure that the kids do not play with the locks and safety belts while you drive. If you want to go out for any reason, do not leave kids in the car alone. Temperatures can rise within seconds inside a car even if the weather seems fair outside. If you must go shopping on the way, take the kids with you or leave an adult in the car.
9. Get the Right Directions
While planning your trip, ensure that you get the right directions to your destination. You may get lost in unsafe neighborhoods or get stuck on impassable roads. Take a map or GPS with you if you are going to a new place. Always listen to your gut whenever you are unsure about directions. Stop and ask for help from a reliable source instead of continuing in the wrong direction. Avoid shortcuts when traveling to unfamiliar neighborhoods. You would surely rather take the long but safe route instead of risking your family’s safety. Sometimes, traveling to a remote place is risky because of GPS connection issues. One easy way to ensure you stay on track is to take screenshots of the directions. In this case, all you need is to keep your phone charged.
10. Check the Weather Forecast
You need to pay attention to the weather forecast for the day you intend to travel. This is not only important for your family to get the right gear, but also for your safety on the road. It is difficult to drive in rainy or snowy weather. The weather forecast will help you to prepare for all possible scenarios like storms or a heavy downpour. Sometimes traveling in hot weather can be uncomfortable for a young child. The weather patterns for the past few days at your destination can give you a clue about what to expect on the day of the trip. As mentioned above, ensure that everyone has the right clothing for the expected weather.
A family road trip is an exciting way to spend time together and bond. Keep these tips in mind, and it should go well.