Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stay Safe on the Road - 10 Tips

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Oh, yeah. Summer road trip season is upon us. Whether you are driving to Grandma's house, or cross-country to a theme park for epic fun, it is important we stay safe on the road. I know my family's safety is the most important thing to me. Here are my top 10 tips to staying safe on the road.

1.  Check your Car seats. I have two toddlers and two car seats in the back. We have checked to make sure they are not only installed properly, but that our children have a proper fit inside their seat. The current suggestion is for children to ride rear facing for 2 years and until they are 30 lbs. Be sure to check your car seats for their own height and weight limitations. After my son outgrows his car seat, we will move him into a booster till he is 4'9" and 80 to 100 lbs. You can check with your pediatrician for your state's regulations and suggestions.

2. Carry Water & Snacks. I know there are rest stops everywhere, but this Mom always tries to be prepared. Here in Oregon families have become lost and stranded in their cars, while trying to find a shortcut, during Winter months. Many of these families did not pack any emergency provisions. I know it is Summer, but shouldn't we be equally prepared? We always have water and snacks to get us through in case we are run into unforseen problems.

3. Check your Tires. Before leaving on a big trip, make sure you have your tires checked, rotated or replaced. Bald tires offer no traction. In our area rainstorms can hit quickly bringing oil to the surface. This makes for slick conditions. Careful driving and tire checks can keep your whole family safer. Do you use the quarter test to check the tread on your tires?

4. Have Directions Will Travel. There is nothing worse than being behind someone who doesn't have a clue where they are going. Serving is never safe! There are so many wonderful options for finding your way these days... There are phone apps, car navigation systems, google maps, etc. If you are traveling alone, or to a location for the first time, have a contact number for reliable directions just in case you become lost and some form of map or written directions.

5. Pull over to Call. My biggest pet peeve is a driver putting my family in danger because they are busy on the phone. I have even seen folks texting while driving! I know there are blue tooth solutions, but many folks on the phone are still not paying full attention to the road and the world around them. Really this should extend to personal grooming, reading and any other activity that takes your concentration away from the road. Take a moment, pull over and make that phone call.

6. Keep the Kids Busy. Bored and squirmy children can be a horrible distraction while driving. We keep DVD players for the kids and also love our Mobigo and activity boards to keep them active. If that isn't  your style, make a DVD with family favorite tunes. Let the family sing along... or be lulled to sleep.

7. Get Enough Sleep... Don't Fake it. I know coffee helps me start my day, but no one should drink coffee instead of getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, a young man in our area, a very bright student, died because he fell asleep at the wheel and went off the road. Why? He was burning the candle at both ends and was too exhausted to drive safely. If you plan a long road trip, try to have other drivers to share the responsibility with.

8. Give yourself enough Time. I am used to being late. It is a fact of life with two small children. When we go on road trips we try to keep our schedule flexible and allow for ample time to reach our destination. There is never a good reason to speed and put everyone in danger. So slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride.

9. Don't Overheat. Check your owner's manual for information on how often your cooling system should be flushed. Overheating is a common problem in warm months. It is always handy to check the coolant level. And if you have problems, be sure to let the engine cool before removing the radiator cap to avoid burns.

10. Don't Ignore that Chip. The windshield provides up to 30% of your car's structural integrity and an innocent looking chip could turn into a crack at anytime. A company like Safelite AutoGlass can provide mobile service, often repairing your windshield in 30 minutes and within 24 hours of calling. Simple, right? A Do-it-yourself kit doesn't use the same type of resin, and can shrink and yellow over time.


So there you go. My top 10 to keep your family safe in the car this Summer. Remember, take of your car, take care of your family, and spend your time and energy having fun on your adventures.

About Safelite AutoGlass:
Safelite AutoGlass® was founded in 1947. Throughout our more than 60 years of service, our company has grown from a single store in Wichita, Kansas, to a national auto glass provider, serving nearly 4 million customers per year.

*Disclaimer - I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Safelite blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
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