- Get a tune-up! Make sure before embarking on any road trip, short or long, that your vehicle is running at it's best. Take your car to your local mechanic and have them do a quick tune-up including an oil change and topping off of all your fluids. This will not only ensure you avoid burning up your engine but it can also increase your gas mileage!
- Check in with relatives along the way. Make sure that someone else knows about your plans and where you will be every night and check in with them when you reach your destination. I know my mom doesn't sleep until she knows I am where I say I am, even at the age of 34! If something should happen, you've got someone looking out for you.
- Check your tires. Blown tires are not fun and definitely not safe so make sure that your tires are inflated to the correct pressure and that they are free of any rocks or glass in the tread. Once again, healthy tires can affect your gas mileage in a positive way and goodness knows that gas prices are high enough that most of us are trying to be more efficient so that we can spend the extra cash on fun stuff!
- Have a spare. Just in case there is an accident and your do blow a tire, make sure you have a spare in your vehicle. Newer cars are almost always equipped with a spare so if you have a newer car just make sure you know how to change the tire and that the spare is inflated correctly.
- Have provisions on hand. My parents always took a cooler or two filled with drinks and snacks whenever we went out on a road trip. It's so important to keep hydrated and have some emergency snacks and drinks just in case of an unforeseen problem.
- Know your route. Once again, this was an essential component of my family's road trips when I was young. My dad always mapped out our routes and know exactly where we were going. Nowadays, there are GPS devices that we shouldn't lost but those devices are not always correct so make sure you have a back map in case your GPS sends you the wrong direction.
- Drive safely! This should be done all the time, especially with children in the car, but sometimes we need to be reminded that there are speed limits for a reason and exceeding those speed limits can be detrimental. Give yourself some extra time to get where you are going so that you don't make life altering decisions behind the wheel.
- Know when to take a break. Driving can be very tiring, especially in the heat of the summer. Take short breaks to get up and stretch your legs. This will also help keep your blood flowing and your mind sharp. If you need a longer break, don't be proud. Your family's safety could depend on it!
- Replace those wipers! Windshield wipers can get dried out in the summer sun and heat so before you embark on a road trip, replace the blades in your wipers. They are inexpensive and could be important if you should encounter a sudden downpour.
- Money talks! I always make it a point to carry a small amount of cash (I'm talking less than $100) when I'm traveling. You never know when you could happen upon a small business in the middle of nowhere who doesn't take Visa. Just remember, cash is accepted everywhere!
Be safe this summer and enjoy those family road trips! Those memories are some of my most favorite from childhood and I can't wait to make those memories with my own children someday.
Disclosure: 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.