How to Keep Your Family Safe When Driving on a Cross-Country Trip

Road trips can be fun, and they allow families to get a surprising amount of bang for their buck. Wise travelers will make pit-stops at local attractions rather than try to rush from Point A to Point B. It’s more fun and relaxing that way, and it is also safer, for the driver will need a break in order to stay well-rested and alert.

Other safety tips for family road trips include the following:

1. No Smartphone Use While Driving

The driver should not text or talk while operating the car, for it is both distracting and unsafe. In many states, it is also illegal. Florida, for example, has made it a primary offense for truck drivers using smartphones while driving.

The term “primary offense” means the police can pull a driver over for talking on a phone even if they haven’t committed any other traffic offenses. Be sure to keep an eye out for other drivers using phones, especially truckers since their vehicles are extremely dangerous. Dolman Law Group and similar organizations can offer legal advice if the worst happens with a distracted driver.

2. Have a Mechanic Check the Car before Leaving

Given that a road trip can involve a journey of hundreds or thousands of miles, the prudent traveler will have their car checked over first to make sure everything is working properly. A breakdown by the side of the road is inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst.

It is also usually cheaper to have a trusted mechanic at home take care of matters like fluids, brakes or car belts before the trip than to have to get the work done by an unfamiliar mechanic who may need to replace expensive parts.

3. Take a Break Every Couple of Hours

It’s a good idea to pull over every couple of hours even if nobody feels tired. Doing so will also let people stretch their legs, go to the bathroom, or get a snack or a drink. It’s also a good idea for everybody in the family who is old enough to drive to spell each other, so no one person gets exhausted.

4. Keep an Eye on the Weather

Check the weather reports from time to time and watch the skies for signs of bad weather that often impairs visibility or otherwise makes driving dangerous. Detouring around a thunderstorm or the like can save time and keep everybody safe.

5. Pack for Emergencies

As the saying goes, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Pack things you might need in an emergency like a First Aid kit and a vehicle emergency kit. Also bring the new LED road flares: They are reusable and aren’t flammable like the old-fashioned road flares.

Wear comfortable shoes in case you have to walk somewhere after a breakdown. Keep any emergency gear within easy reach; it won’t do you much good if it’s buried under suitcases.

As with so many other things, having a safe and enjoyable trip depends on planning. Taking the time to do so can make the difference between a fun vacation and a disaster.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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