Going on a road trip with your family should be a fun, exciting event. Often, the best memories are created on vacations, where families are able to spend a large amount of time together having fun and enjoying the time spent with one another. However, any vacation can quickly turn into a disastrous event if you don’t take all of the necessary steps to protect your family and ensure their safety while you are traveling. Here are five suggestions to get you started as you prepare for your next family road trip.
1. Leave your home secure
More than likely, your home is going to be completely empty for several days while you are on vacation with your family. This opens up the possibility for a number of different disasters to occur. While you more than likely are already thinking about a burglary, there are also the dangers or fire, frozen pipes, and water damage. So, how do you go about protecting yourself from all of these potential problems and dangers?
The best thing that you can do is have a home security system installed in your house. Most modern security systems are completely automated, which means that the security company will be able to fully protect your home without you being present. A large number of these systems can also detect problems such as fire and excess water, immediately reporting the issue to the appropriate emergency services. A cheaper route is to simply have a friend go over and inspect the home every day, making sure that they look out for any potential problems or suspicious activities.
2. Know where you’re going
It is ideal to bring a GPS with updated maps on any road trip, but even these advanced technologies can fail when you need them the most. If you are going to be relying completely on a GPS or your cellphone, make sure that you bring a car charger, and be prepared for areas where you might not be able to get a signal. Because of this, it is wise to plan out your trip beforehand, which will give you a good idea of where you will be going and what turns you are going to need to make. It is also a great idea to bring written directions along with you, along with a physical map of the areas where you will be driving, which will give you a great form of insurance in case your GPS or phone fails.
3. Don’t drink and drive
It is essential to avoid any driving while under the influence of alcohol. Over 31% of all traffic-related deaths in 2010 were the result of drunk driving, most of which were caused by people that only had a few drinks before they go back onto the road. While you are on the road, you more than likely will be eating out a great deal, which may make it tempting to grab a beer or some other alcoholic drink with your meal. The problem is that even the smallest amount of alcohol can impair your senses, especially if you are going to be driving in the evening. A respected San Marcos DUI attorney, Bradley Corbett, recommends that drivers switch off between drinking at meals, if alcohol is truly something that is necessary. This way, you can still enjoy a drink with every other meal, while still staying safe and legal while on the road.
4. Have proper safety harnesses for everyone, especially children
According to Seatcheck, one of the most recognized organizations that promotes child safety in automobiles, properly installed car seats and booster seats can help reduce fatal injuries by over 70% for infants and over 54% for toddlers, aged 1-4. It is sad to think that the leading cause of death for children aged 3-14 is auto accidents. Because of this, take every precaution to make sure that you children will be safe in the event of an accident. First, the CDC recommends that children be kept in the back seat until they are age 12, and even then they should not sit up front unless the seat belt fits them properly. Most parents are tempted to get their children out of the car seat as soon as possible, but most children will need some sort of car seat until they are 5 years old. After that, until they can fit within a regular seat belt, they will need to use some form of booster seat.
5. Bring emergency equipment with you
It is important to make sure your vehicle is properly equipped in case of a crash or other problem. Having a usable spare tire and the equipment to change it out, jumper cables, and a well-stocked first aid kit are a good start. Bringing a cell phone and car charger is also extremely helpful in case of car trouble, or even if you just get lost. It is also recommended that you bring emergency survival gear in case you are stranded or need to get out of the vehicle and travel on foot. Make sure that there are several emergency backpacks in your car that have warm blankets for everyone, enough food for everyone for 72 hours, clean water, and other supplies that can help you with extreme conditions.
As you plan your next road trip with your family, please take these steps and more to make sure your time on the road is fun and safe. Assume the best will happen, but make sure to be prepared for the worst.