There’s nothing quite like a summer road trip. Miles of road stretched out ahead, the warm sun above, not to mention a sense of adventure and anticipation in the air – what’s not to love?

But just like driving in the snow or rain can be risky, summertime drives have their own complications worth being prepared for. Before planning a road trip, it’s important to ensure that both you and your car are ready for the journey.

Heatstroke preparation

Many road trippers underestimate the impact of spending long hours in a car in the hot sun, especially for children, pets and older adults. Before setting off, check your car’s A/C performance and ensure it can cool the car adequately.

Regarding car safety, it’s best not to leave young children or pets alone in a vehicle even temporarily. Vehicles can heat up quickly and children are much more susceptible to temperature changes than adults.

Ensure you’re traveling with plenty of water, and remember to get refills or freshwater bottles whenever you stop for gas or meals.

If a travel companion experiences symptoms such as profuse sweating or very high body temperature, loss of consciousness, confusion, irritability or altered behavior, racing heart, headaches, and nausea/vomiting, they may be experiencing heatstroke. Try to cool the skin with a wet cloth or get them indoors if possible. In cases of heatstroke, it’s best to go to a 24 hour urgent care clinic immediately.

Car safety and preparation

Before you hit the road:

  • Make sure that your vehicle is up-to-date on all safety requirements.
  • Check tire pressure and treads for good grip and performance.
  • Ensure that windshield wipers are in working order so you can see clearly when driving in wet weather.
  • Ensure all lights – from headlights to brake lights – function properly and replace any bulbs as necessary.

If there is an emergency roadside kit present, check the contents before starting. Replace any expired items or add extra supplies if needed; essential items include a first aid kit, jumper cables, flares/warning signs, repair tools, flashlights, drinking water, snacks, and more.

Plan your route ahead of time to avoid navigational issues and detours. Bring a physical copy of the route or save it to your phone in case you lose service. Make sure to fill up on fuel when necessary; running out of gas or getting stranded can be avoided with some foresight.

Road travel tips

Always be aware of your surroundings, particularly if you pull in and out of different rest stops. It is crucial to pay attention to other drivers on the road and spot any potential hazards ahead of time. Additionally, be mindful at night and alert for animals crossing the road – they tend to be more active during this time.

Lastly, don’t forget to practice safe driving habits by following speed limits, avoiding distractions while behind the wheel, and wearing your seatbelt.

Final thought

Arriving safely is the main goal of any road trip.  There are several ways to ensure a safe journey, such as considering your physical health, car maintenance, and travel conditions.

By following the tips above, you can accomplish that. Happy travels!

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