Taking a road trip with family can be a fun way to bond while seeing a variety of interesting sights. From the gorgeous countryside to exciting metropolitan areas, the country’s vast network of interstates and highways provide both educational and relaxing experiences. However, some people see the road as a dangerous place filled with distracted drivers, drunk or impaired drivers, deer ready to leap across the road and bad weather. Families do not need to let these potential problems keep them from getting behind the wheel. Instead, these tips will keep anyone’s family safe while driving.
Distracted drivers cause numerous car accidents every year. In fact, according to the US government at Distraction.gov, over 3,000 people in the United States were killed in 2013 alone because of distracted driving. Most drivers who are distracted are busy looking at their cell phones or making phone calls. However, other distractions can be caused by the radio, GPS systems, noisy children and activities happening on the side of the road. In addition, drivers should only drive when they are well-rested and should pull over if they feel that they are too tired to pay attention.
Choose the Right Type of Car Seat
Car seat laws have changed drastically over the past couple of decades. In general, infants and young children should be kept rear-facing as long as possible because this is the safest position for their smaller necks. After this, the forward-facing car seat should be used until the child is too big to fit into the weight and height requirements for it. Next, a booster seat should be used until the child is big enough to wear a seat belt snugly without having it rest across his or her stomach.
Be Smart in the Winter
Winter driving can be treacherous, particularly in northern states that see snow and ice. It is vital to remove snow that has collected from all the car’s windows and headlights before driving to allow other drivers to see the car coming and to allow the driver to have clear lines of vision. Other tips include driving slowly on snow and ice and keeping a winter emergency pack in the trunk with extra hats, gloves, a candle, energy bars and other items that will keep a family safe should they become stuck in a snowstorm.
Watch Out for Bad Weather
Snow is not the only type of bad weather that can impair driving. Rain can make roads slick or cause hydroplaning; drivers should slow down in the rain and use windshield wipers. Strong winds can make it difficult to stay on the road, and fog can make it difficult to see other vehicles or obstructions on the road. In bad weathers, drivers should be particularly alert to their surroundings.
Maintain the Vehicle
A poorly maintained vehicle can put the entire family at jeopardy. In particular, the tires should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s or a trusted auto mechanic’s suggestion. Bald tires do not grip the road well and can cause a vehicle to skid. In addition, drivers should ensure that their brake pads are in good shape because a worn down brake pad can increase stopping times.
While the roadways can be dangerous places, the smart driver will plan ahead and not have any distractions while driving. Should an accident occur, turning to a professional car accident attorney, can help one deal with insurance companies and other legal battles. Following these tips can reduce tickets, accidents and other negative occurrences and instead create a safe and happy time spent with family.