Avoid Accidents on Long Car Trips This Summer

A serious auto accident can ruin your summer road trip and can even cause a premium increase for your auto insurance. Fortunately, you can do many things to avoid an accident. These tips can help you stay safe on an upcoming summer road trip.

Check the Weather
Weather can change fast in the summer, especially in parts of the country where storms and tornadoes are common. Check the weather forecast every day before heading out on the road. Watch for weather alerts like flash floods and storms and tornado watches. If you have a smartphone, download a weather alert app to get regular weather alerts as conditions change.
If you're driving through tornado alley (including northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska) or in other parts of the Midwest, familiarize yourself with the warning signs of tornadoes.
  • Hail (often without rain)
  • Appearance of dark gray or gray-green clouds
  • Sudden stillness in the air
  • Cloud or wall of debris in the distance
If you should happen to see any of these warning signs, pull your car off the road, buckle yourself in, and put your head below the level of the windshield.
Keep Sunglasses Handy
Bright sunlight can block your vision and make driving difficult. Having the right sunglasses can help. Buy sunglasses that reduce glare, and keep them handy in your car. If you also like to carry around sunglasses in your purse, keep a spare pair of sunglasses in your glove box to ensure that you'll always have sunglasses on hand when they're needed.
Clean Your Windshield Frequently
A windshield can get very dirty on a long car trip. Prevent streaks on the glass from obscuring your vision by cleaning your windshield regularly, either with your own tools or with a squeegee at gas stations along the way.
Keep your windshield cleaner topped off as well. The best way to do this is to carry around an extra gallon of windshield cleaner fluid in the trunk of your car so you can refill the tank in your car as needed.
Stay Alert
It can be hard to stay alert on a long car trip, especially late at night. Driving drowsy is almost as dangerous as driving drunk and can lead to serious car accidents. Fortunately, you can do many things to stay alert while driving.
  • Take breaks every couple hours to get out and drive around.
  • Switch drivers when you become too tired.
  • Talk to your passengers.
  • Drink coffee.
Get eight hours of sleep every night that you're on the road. In the evening, after a long day of driving, give yourself a break. Avoid driving through the night if at all possible.
Know Your Route
Knowing your route can help keep your attention on the road. If you do become lost and need to look at a map or plug a route into a GPS device, pull over. Don't ever try to read a map or operate a GPS device while driving.
Keep Animals Secure
Some pet owners like to travel with their pets. Traveling with pets can be dangerous if the pets aren't kept properly secure. If your pet is small enough to stay in a crate, keep your pet in the crate and secure the crate inside the car as the crate manufacturer recommends.
If your pet will not be traveling inside a crate, buy a special travel harness to keep your pet in his or her seat on the drive. A seat harness is similar to a seat belt. Try the seat harness before leaving on your trip to ensure that the seat harness fits your pet properly. Use the harness every time you get in the car with your pet to keep you and your pet safe.
Research Road Conditions
If you're traveling to remote areas, research road conditions before setting out on your journey. Gravel roads and mud can create conditions that can be hazardous for driving. Knowing about these conditions in advance can help you plan for your journey so you can avoid accidents and stay safe on your upcoming trip.
Get a Tune-Up
Tire blow outs and breakdowns on the road can lead to accidents. Take your car in to get it checked out by a mechanic before leaving on your trip. Tell your mechanic that you'll be leaving on an extended road trip, and ask your mechanic to make recommendations for repair. Pay close attention to the condition of your tires since your tires will be taking a beating while you're gone.
Work With Your Insurance Company
Work with your insurance company to ensure that you have proper coverage for your upcoming road trip. If your car does not have full coverage, consider upgrading your coverage to include roadside assistance before you leave.
If you have more questions about how you can stay safe on your upcoming road trip this summer, contact L.A. Insurance. We'll be happy to answer any questions you might have about safety on the road this summer.