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Summer is here, and it’s time to hit the road for a road trip!

Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or solo, there’s nothing quite like hitting the open road and exploring new destinations. However, while summer road trips can be a lot of fun, they also come with potential dangers. Road accidents can occur for several reasons, including negligence, inexperience, distracted or impaired driving, and weather conditions. To make your travel experience as safe as possible, these are five essential tips for a safe summer road trip:

Ensure Your Vehicle is Roadworthy

The first step to a safe summer road trip is to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy. Before you hit the road, schedule a tune-up with your mechanic to check all critical mechanical components, including brakes, tires, and suspension systems, to ensure they are in excellent condition. Make sure that all fluids, such as engine oil and transmission fluid, are at the correct levels. Check your battery and ensure the terminals are clean and secure to avoid jump-starting on the road.

Plan Your Route

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when planning a summer road trip is to rely solely on your GPS. GPS is undoubtedly a valuable tool, but it’s essential to know your route, including your starting point, stops to make, and your final destination. Having a general idea of what roads you’ll be taking and where you’ll be stopping for food and fuel will help you to stay grounded during the trip. Proper planning will also help you avoid getting lost and reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Take Regular Breaks

Driving for prolonged periods can be exhausting, and it increases the risk of accidents. When planning your route, make sure that you take into account regular stops to stretch, move around, and rest. Taking breaks also allows you to maintain proper concentration and reduce the risk of drowsy driving, which can be dangerous.

Avoid Distracted Driving

Distractions are one of the leading causes of road accidents. Distractions are anything that takes your attention away from driving, including using your phone, eating, or tuning your car stereo. Distracted driving can cause you to miss critical road signs, stoplights, and other drivers, leading to accidents. Avoiding distractions while driving can help you stay alert and reduce the risk of accidents.

Drive Defensively

Another critical tip for a safe summer road trip is to drive defensively rather than offensively. Defensive driving involves anticipating potential hazards on the road and taking proactive measures to avoid accidents. This includes following speed limits, maintaining a safe distance from other drivers, avoiding sudden turns or lane changes, and checking your mirrors regularly. Defensive driving is an essential skill that can help you avoid potential accidents, increasing your safety on the road.

Being safe doesn’t mean sacrificing fun.

Summer road trips can be a lot of fun and an excellent way to explore new destinations. However, they also come with potential dangers. By following these essential safety tips, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable summer road trip. With proper planning, maintenance, and driving techniques, you’ll be able to focus on the journey and create unforgettable memories.

For additional summer driving tips, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration‘s website.