Summer Driving Safety Tips to Keep Your Family Safe on the Road

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) for IZEA Worldwide. All opinions are 100% mine.

The summer season is our family’s primetime for a long road trip. With half of our immediate family 12 hours away, we typically make at least one road trip for a quality visit. Packing and prepping for our trip goes far beyond our luggage and toiletries. In fact, the most important part of getting ready for our trip, happens to our vehicle! Here are some driving safety tips to keep you and your family safe while on the road.

  1. Get your car serviced. This includes having an oil change done, tune ups, battery checks, tires checked and rotated (if needed), and your brakes inspected. Additional items to have inspected are your engine air filter and cabin air filter (if your vehicle has one). Most of these items can be performed at a dealership or a trusted local mechanic.
  1. Check for vehicle safety recalls. Contact your local dealership and provide them with the make, model, and year of your vehicle to find out if there are any vehicle safety recalls in place. The cost of vehicle safety recalls are always covered by the manufacturer, so it’s as easy as scheduling an appointment. You can also check for vehicle safety recalls using NHTSA’s VIN Look-up tool.
  2. Go over your vehicle safety checklist. After having your car serviced, there are still a few items you’ll need to check out.
    • Wiper Blades: Confirm your windshield wiper blades are functional and fill your windshield washer fluid.
    • Cooling System: Once your engine is completely cool, check your coolant levels (antifreeze) to ensure they are full. If there are any particles floating in it, it should be flushed out and refilled. If the fluid is sludgy or thick, make an appointment to have it serviced.
    • Lights: Make sure your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, interior lights, and trailer lights (if you are towing a trailer) are all in working order. This is a fun game we play with the kids, where they each are assigned a light and once we hit the button, they get to tell us if it is working.
    • Tires: It’s important to regularly rotate your tires, but if your tires have recently been rotated, you want to check the air pressure of each individual tire. You can find the correct pressure for your tires on a label on the driver’s doorframe or in the vehicle owner’s manual. Also check the tread wear to ensure it is safe. Once it is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, the tires need to be replaced. Last, ensure that you are have safe spare tire that can safely be used if needed.
    • Driver’s side floorboard: The area on the driver’s floorboard by the accelerator and brake should be completely clear. Ensure there is no garbage or loose items, and have a floor mat that is properly secured and not causing any interference with the pedals.
  3. Know how to change a flat tire. Even if your tires are brand new, make sure you are comfortable knowing how to change a flat time, should it arise. Make sure there is a jack with the spare tire.
  4. Have an Emergency Roadside Kit Handy. Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down. Our Emergency Roadside Kit contains essentials for both our car and our kids and include the following items:
    • Cell phone and charger
    • Flashlight
    • First Aid Kit
    • Blanket
    • Flares
    • Knife
    • Basic repair tools
    • Maps
    • Waters
    • Nonperishable snacks
    • Extra clothes (separate from those packed in a suitcase located in a roof rack or separate trailer)

Performing the basic safety checks before we go on the road takes a little bit of time, but allows us to make memories instead of worrying about our car making it to the destination. While we do allow the kids the break up the 12-hour drive with some movies, we have the most fun playing car games and singing songs. There is nothing funnier than singing the wrong words on the top of your lungs to your favorite songs.

If you’re hitting the road this summer, keep these Summer Driving Tips in mind from NHTSA. What road trips do you have planned for this summer?

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