Whether you’re going across the state or across the country, it’s important to practice safe driving while doing so. You may be alone, accompanied by your dog or with a car full of people. Focusing on the road and keeping yourself and those around you, including other drivers, safe should be a priority.
We’re all aware of how dangerous driving can be if not taken seriously, but there are still some things we do that put our lives and the lives of others at risk. Use these tips on the road to practice safe driving:
Practicing safe driving with children in the car
Driving across the country on a family vacation should be a time your children won’t forget for the better. As the driver, keeping your children safe while on the road is your responsibility. Here’s a quick list to go through before hitting the road with your young children:
- Make sure your auto insurance is valid and up-to-date
- Ensure you aren’t leaving any children in the car unattended
- Read the car seat manual to make sure all car seats are the correct fit for the size of your child and securely buckle them in
- Clear the floor of the car from any loose toys and items; the force of an accident could turn them into projectiles in your car
- Activate child locks for doors and windows
- Regularly verify all passengers are buckled properly throughout the trip
- Teach your children proper car safety
In addition, you should always have a full emergency kit in the car with you. A good emergency kit should include:
- Peroxide wound cleaner
- Bottled water
- Car seat strap cutter
- Window breaker
- Jumper cables
Driving with children should be full of fun memories. Stay prepared and prevent distractions as much as possible to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Secure pets in a harness or crate
Your furry friends deserve the same treatment as your other passengers. Some pets are stressed by car rides, so they could cause distractions if left loose in the vehicle. Strapping them in with a harness or a crate can help them stay in their seat and make them feel more secure while riding in the car.
Along with children, never leave your pets alone in the car especially when the vehicle is turned off. Even with the windows cracked, leaving pets unattended is dangerous because it can cause hyperthermia (too hot) in the warmer months and hypothermia (too cold) in the colder months, dehydration and even death.
Stop to stretch every two hours
Driving for long periods can make you drowsy even if you’ve been paying attention the entire time. If you’re on the highway, you’ll most likely pass either a rest area or a truck stop. This is the perfect opportunity to get out, walk around for a minute, use the restroom and prepare for the rest of the journey.
Healthychildren.org, a website sponsored by The American Association of Pediatrics says to take a break from driving every two hours especially when driving with children. They can become restless, so a 10- or 15-minute break every two hours to stretch can help to make the road trip safer.
If it’s a long car ride, stop to rest at a hotel as soon as you start to feel tired. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
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Never display family stickers showing the number of members of your family
Family sticker decals have gained popularity on the back of many vehicles over the past few years. They’re a cute way of self-expression, but they may be giving away too much information. If the wrong person sees that a single parent has two young daughters, they could become prime targets of car theft or human trafficking without even realizing.
The US alone saw a 19% increase in human trafficking victims between 2018 and 2019. We’d do anything to protect our homes and cars, so why wouldn’t we do everything to protect those around us?
Eating, texting or finding the perfect road trip playlist are all forms of distractions. People of all ages are guilty of distracted driving. However, according to the CDC, 2019 saw a higher percentage of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents due to distracted driving than older drivers. It’s important to take driving safely seriously.
It's especially important to talk to your new or teen drivers about limiting distracted driving and driving safety. New drivers should take extra precautions, such as avoiding driving with friends because it can be very distracting.
Download your route to access it even without cell service
Cell phones have made getting directions easier than ever, but what happens when you’re in a location with no service and your directions stop working? Fortunately, Google Maps allows you to download your route to access offline, so you can avoid that panic altogether.
Having a driving route planned and being prepared are important aspects of any good road trip.
Get a tune-up
No one likes unexpected trips to the body shop during a road trip. Avoid the hassle by fixing any issues before they cause more damage. Getting a tune-up before a long drive should be a default item in your trip’s itinerary.
It’s better to replace a tire before the trip, than sitting on the side of a busy highway changing a flat. However, if you do find yourself in this situation, Integrity offers reliable roadside assistance for anyone on your policy. Talk to your local Integrity agent about adding roadside assistance to your policy today.
Pay attention to the weather
Weather awareness goes for trips during every season. If you’re driving even a few hours in the winter, you should make sure you aren’t driving into an ice or snowstorm that would make traveling nearly impossible. Summer storms are no different. Hail can cause serious damage to your vehicle.
Roughly 21% of all crashes are weather-related. Sometimes the destination isn’t worth the journey, so be aware of all weather conditions before and during your trip.
Tell only family and friends where you’re traveling—not social media
Never go anywhere without letting someone know for your own safety. You would have more trouble on your hands if you were to get in an accident or have car trouble with no cell phone service and no one knew where you were. Telling people where you’re going, even if it’s a few hours away, can get help to you sooner if need be.
With that being said, do not tell everyone on social media where you’re going before or during your trip. This could lead to thieves and criminals targeting your house if they know that no one is home.
Keep your car safe and secure
Car thefts are on the rise. To try and avoid falling victim to car theft, take necessary precautions like parking in well-lit, secure areas whenever you're driving anywhere, but especially at night. Car theft may be avoided by parking in a location with cameras and lighting, such as a parking garage. However, if it occurs, you can relax knowing that it was probably recorded on camera.
In addition, always lock your car when you're driving it, parking it and even briefly exiting it. The simplest approach to keep someone out of your vehicle is to keep doors locked and windows up.
How Integrity can help you practice safe driving
We like to reward safe driving. Talk to your local independent Integrity agent about your comprehensive car insurance coverage. Check out different ways you can save when you practice good driving habits including our OnTrack app and safe driver discount.
Coverages described herein may not be available in all states. Please contact one of our local independent agents for complete details on coverages and discounts. If the policy coverage descriptions herein conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. The material provided above is for informational, educational and/or suggestion purposes only, and does not imply coverage. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO QUOTE ANY INDIVIDUAL PREMIUM RATE FOR THE INSURANCE HEREIN ADVERTISED. Applicable policies may be underwritten by Grange Insurance Company, Trustgard Insurance Company, Grange Indemnity Insurance Company, Grange Insurance Company of Michigan* and Grange Property & Casualty Insurance Company*, Integrity Insurance Company*, Integrity Property & Casualty Insurance Company*, Integrity Select Insurance Company*. *Not licensed in Pennsylvania
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)