Family Road Trip Safety
PREPARE BEFORE YOU GO
• Have your vehicle inspected and make any necessary repairs. • Check the spare tire for any cracking or low pressure. • Pack an emergency kit. • Charge your phone and bring a spare cord. • Let family and friends know where you’re headed and when you expect to get there.
STOP EVERY TWO HOURS
When you sit in one place too long, blood flow in your legs slows down while your risk for health problems goes up.1 Pull over and get out every two hours or so to stretch. Stopping occasionally will also help break up a long trip.
Avoid sugary or overly salty foods that cause spikes and crashes in your blood sugar. Instead, go for healthy and fiber-rich snacks such as dried fruit and nuts, or pack a cooler with fresh veggies.
Studies say that like drinking alcohol, mild dehydration can impair judgment and lead to accidents.2 Bring an insulated water bottle and refill it with cold water whenever you stop. Although you need to stay alert, limit your caffeine, because it can also be dehydrating.
SHARE THE WHEEL
Drowsy driving causes about 6,400 fatal accidents a year.3 And 37% of drivers admit they've nodded off at least once in their lives.3 If you feel tired, let someone else drive, or steer toward a hotel for the night.
KEEP THE KIDS AMUSED
The more restless they are, the more distracted you are. After games of "I Spy" and "License Plate Bingo" get old, be sure to have plenty of books, games, music and movies (if you’re technologically equipped!) on hand to provide hours of entertainment until you reach your destination.
1 U.S. News and World Report, How to Stay Healthy on a Road Trip, 2015. 2 Physiology and Behavior, August 2015. 3 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Drowsy Driving, 2017.
The last time you went on a road trip, did you feel prepared? Maybe it was your first experience traveling with children, or you were driving in an unfamiliar area. Perhaps you were using a rental car that wasn’t equipped with your typical road trip essentials. Regardless of what happened, it’s never too late to create a new checklist of to-dos and must-haves for your next adventure.
To prep for a safe journey with only the fun kind of surprises, start building a travel plan before hitting the road:
- Be sure your car has been recently inspected
- Prepare a list of all the supplies you’ll need
- Notify key people when and where you’re arriving
- Develop a road trip planner with stops so that you can stay alert, hydrated and keep your blood circulation flowing
You may even want to switch drivers each time you pull over. If you have children on board, your hope is to keep them relaxed and entertained. Most of all, you’ll want them to experience a road trip to remember.
Emergency kit? Check. Phone charger? Got it. Healthy snacks and water? In the cooler. Now that you have a solid plan in place, you’re ready for wherever the road may take you. Last but never least, don’t forget to enjoy this special time with your family.