This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All opinions are 100% mine.
I want to look back on the summers that my kiddos lived under my roof as some of the happiest times of our lives! I think summers should be full of spending quality time together enjoying this big beautiful world. Road trips are one of the most wonderful ways to do that. Of course, it is important to plan ahead and be prepared even in the summer months. This is why we’ve made a list of Summertime Safe Driving Tips to follow. You can use it as a checklist and make sure everyone is well prepared and knows the rules before hitting the road!
Putting some work in on the front end to prepare for your road trip can help you to avoid delays and disasters later on. Making this well worth your time!
Summertime Safe Driving Tips: Before You Go Checklist
a. Check for Recalls-
No matter the season, use the VIN lookup tool at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make sure your vehicle is recall free. There might be something that needs to be repaired or replaced that you wouldn’t know about otherwise.
b. Check Your Tire Air Pressure-
Checking your tires before a road trip is absolutely essential. You can find the correct air pressure for your tires on a label on your driver side door. You’ll also want to check for wear on your tires. This can be a great summertime teaching moment for your older kids where you pass on some car safety knowledge in teaching them to fill the tires.
c. Get Your Car Serviced Before A Long Road Trip-
I remember my dad always popping the hood and checking our oil levels. Unfortunately, I am not quite as car savvy but I do know how important it is to have someone take a look at your car before traveling. Find a trustworthy service shop in your area and have them do regular tune-ups throughout the year. Before a summertime road trip, have them check all your hoses and fluids. These are essential to safe driving in the heat.
d. Check All Lights-
This includes the headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. This can be a fun way for little ones and you to prepare for a road trip together. Have them help you flip on all the interior lights to be sure they are working… this way you don’t have to climb around the back at all!
e. Check Windshield Wipers-
You may not have used these bad boys in a while so be sure they are still properly working. Summertime storms are quite common!
Here is a great Vehicle Safety Checklist from our friends at NHTSA-
Safety First: Important Things to Remember
a. Protect Your Passengers- Buckle up—every trip, every time.
When traveling with a child, it’s safest for them to ride in a car seat suited for their size and age. All children 13 and younger should ride in the back seat. I had a friend in junior high end up with extensive plastic surgery at age 12 after getting in a car accident while riding in the front seat. The airbag had gone off and he was too small for the impact. So, as much as my kids complain I won’t budge on this one.
b. Packing the Car-
Don’t over pack your car where you can’t see out of the rear window! I know that packing with kids can be tough, but it’s summer so follow some tips to pack a little lighter in the name of safe driving.
c. Entertainment Set Up-
Setup any movies or iPads for the little kids before you start driving. They will inevitably want something to keep them entertained and it’s just safer to deal with it beforehand. This way you can ensure they are put on volumes that aren’t distracting for the driver, too! While you are at it, you might want to set them up with some easily accessible snacks and drinks so no one is rummaging around for those while driving.
d. Take Breaks-
Everybody needs breaks! Prioritize this over trying to get to your next destination quickly. First of all, it will keep everyone happier. Second, it is good for the driver to stretch out and take a break from the road every once in a while.
Summertime Safe Driving Tips: What To Do On the Road
a. Stay Alert-
As a driver, it is important to stay alert. Be sure to get well rested before embarking on your road trip. Plan out stops along the way. These will be to get something to eat and drink, return any calls or text messages, or to change drivers when you’re feeling tired or drowsy. This helps your mindset too, as you have a shorter destination goal to reach.
Along with taking breaks, stay alert to watch for changing speed limits and construction zones. You don’t want either of these things to sneak up on you.
b. Using Your Phone-
Try not to use the phone at all as the driver! If you are using your phone for navigation have a dashboard holder so the phone is at eye level. Many states require this, including my home state of California.
c. Share the Road-
Okay, I will admit this is not always the easiest rule to follow especially when you really want to get somewhere. Summertime weather brings many different kinds of travelers to the road, though. From truckers to bikers, each of them deserves to be safe.
Our Family’s #1 Summertime Safety Driving Tip
Pack An Emergency Kit-
This is one summertime safety driving tip that we can’t stress enough! Always have an emergency kit in your car. There is just no telling when you might need one. It should include a typical first aid kit, a good cell phone charger, jumper cables, flares, a white flag, everything you need to change a flat tire, duct tape in case a hose leaks, extra windshield washer fluid, and emergency blankets. You will also want to include water and nonperishable food. When I was younger, I may have laughed at this extensive list. However, with my kids, there is no way I would travel a far distance without everything listed here.
Find more great summer driving tips from our friends at the NHTSA here-