How to Have a Happy, Safe Summer Road Trip

So you’re hitting the road for your favorite campsite, fishing hole, theme park or beach rental. Here are 17 summer driving reminders to keep you, your passengers and fellow travelers safer on highways and byways.

  • Make sure your vehicle is safe and road-ready with this checklist.
  • Buckle up every time.
  • Put kids 13 and younger in the back seat. No exceptions.
  • Inflate tires properly. Proper inflation is important for safety and can save you up to 9 cents per gallon through better fuel efficiency.
  • If you’re hauling, use a safety chain for trailers and inspect your hitch whenever you stop.
  • Check blind zones before backing up. Trucks, SUVs, RVs and vans are more likely than cars to be involved in backovers.

Side mirror with reflection

  • Remember to add clearance for trailers, campers, bike racks and roof racks. It’s easy to forget your extra height or length.
  • Add following distance. A fully loaded vehicle needs more stopping time.
  • Add extra following distance for motorcycles. They can stop much quicker, in shorter distances.
  • Slow down if there’s a sudden cloudburst to avoid hydroplaning.
  • Never leave kids or animals in an unattended car, even with windows down or A/C on.
  • Lock your vehicle when exiting.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Don’t text or check your phone. Check out cell phone laws by state.
  • Watch for pedestrians and cyclists on the shoulder. Warm weather means there are more sharing the road.

Cyclist on road shoulder

  • Before driving, don’t take medications, alcohol or drugs that will impair you.
  • Pull over if you get drowsy.
  • If you get stranded without a roadside assistance policy, call an on-demand roadside service.
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