There isn’t an activity that brings families closer together (literally) than a good ol’ fashion family road trip. With these scorching summer temperatures, it’s more important than ever to prepare your family and vehicle to brave the open roads. Before you drive away with all of your precious cargo on board, take a minute to review these tips and set aside a few days to begin your pre-trip prep. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Visit your mechanic-To ease your worries and ensure your safety on the road, make sure your car is in its tip top shape. Visit your local mechanic to check your tires, battery, belts, fluids, and air conditioner. If you are driving in scorching heat, you may also want to consider getting your oil changed to one with a higher viscosity (ask your mechanic for advice). Even if you think your car is in prime condition, it doesn’t hurt to have it checked!
2. Get in 8 hours- There are over 100,000 accidents that happen due to drowsy driving, don’t add to that number. Get in a good night’s rest prior to your trip, and switch off with other adults in the car. Plus, who doesn’t like an excuse to be in bed early?
3. Check them twice- Double check that your kids will be safe on the drive by looking over their car seats. Make sure that the seats are properly fastened in the car and that all the buckles are working properly BEFORE you load everyone in the car.
4. Equip your car with an emergency kit- Even if you aren’t going on a long road trip, it’s never a bad idea to get an emergency kit in your car. Print this list and start gathering your items! There is also a company that specializes in nicely pre-packed pouches for emergencies that are fashionable and practical. They include essentials and extras like hand sanitizers, wipes, clippers, floss, sunscreen etc. Check them out here.
- Warm blankets
- A flashlight
- Jumper cables
- Hand sanitizer
- Tools to change a tire
- Charged cell phone
- First-aid kit
5. Get ready for the sun-Lather up your loved ones in sunscreen and pack plenty extra for the trip. Also put on your stunner shades for the road (with sun protection lenses of course) and don’t forget that your little ones need sunglasses too.
6. Childproof the backseat- Check that your child locks are in place and remove any hazardous car fluids from your hind seats. Then look around for choking hazards (now might be a good time to check between the seats for change and do a thorough vacuum job).
7. Safely stow away your items- Lastly, make sure all of your vacation gear is tucked away safely. You know what the flight attendants say on the plane, “make sure everything is stowed away properly to avoid shifting items.” Some of your items may become projectile with a sudden stop, so keep them low in the seat wells and push them down tightly.
8. Get mapping-A smart phone or device with a mapping application is almost a must now days. Bringing one of these along with you as a guide is a great idea. However, have your guest in the passenger seat hold the device and help you navigate. Remember though, devices lose service, break, die, and sometimes steer you wrong. Plan ahead! Bring another map, or print out MapQwest directions for backup.
9. Plan an alternate route in case of weather or any detours– Nothing is a party killer quite like knowing your destination that was just five minutes away, is now going to take you more than an hour. Prep now for any unplanned road-detours. It is also not a bad idea to check weather reports and roadways before leaving.
11. Keep utensils handy-Having great snacks for the ride is obviously a must! Keep everyone full and happy with tasty treats. However, don’t be so quick to forget your utensils. How many of us have experienced the “mom arm” reaching back through the seats in search of a spoon to eat that pudding? Avoid dangerous distractions like this by keeping utensils in an easily reached place.