Before You Leave
- Make sure your vehicle is prepared – take your car to the shop to get your oil changed and have a professional check your tires and pressure, brakes, battery, fluid levels, and air conditioning system.
- Consider replacing your wiper blades, as these can be damaged by extreme summer heat.
- Put a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle that includes jumper cables, flashlight and batteries, bottled waters, energy bars, blankets, and a first aid kit.
- Keep the tools needed to change a flat tire in your vehicle.
- Map out your route ahead of time and check for road closures, construction, and detours.
- Make sure you share the route you plan to take and your expected departure and arrival times with someone before you leave.
- Be sure to pack a cell phone charger that can be used in the car so that you always have enough battery.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks for you and your passengers; in the summer heat, it’s especially important to stay hydrated.
- If driving with children, pack books, toys, DVDs, video games, and music to keep them occupied so that you can concentrate on the road.
On The Road
- Always make sure that you and all passengers are wearing seat belts and that children are properly restrained at all times.
- Pay attention to traffic signs and speed limits, as these can change drastically from county to county and state to state.
- Avoid all types of distracted driving – don’t text, talk on the phone, or adjust the radio or GPS while driving.
- Don’t drive aggressively – sitting in traffic or being behind the wheel for extended periods of time can get under anyone’s skin. If you find yourself getting frustrated and angry, pull off the road for a few minutes so that you can calm down and refocus.
- Stop regularly so that you and your passengers can stretch out and move around.
- If you are getting tired, trade driving responsibilities with a passenger, get a hotel room for the night, or pull off the road and park in a safe location to sleep for a few hours. Driving while fatigued severely impairs your ability to safely operate your vehicle.
- Never leave children or pets alone in the car – even if you are just running into the gas station for a minute. The high summer temperatures can cause a vehicle to heat up to dangerous temperatures within a matter of minutes, even if you leave the window cracked.