Before you get in your car and go on a road trip this summer, be sure you have done sufficient vehicle maintenance. If you do not know the maintenance history of the car you'll be going on your trip in, consider taking it to a mechanic in order to get a professional checkup. An experienced car accident lawyer knows summer is considered tire blowout season because the pavement gets hot and contributes to tire breakdown.
Problems with the brakes or the engine can lead the car to have trouble stopping or to overheat and you could find yourself losing control of your vehicle, stranded on the roadside or in an accident. Maintaining your car regularly, getting the oil changed and the tires rotated, and following all manufacturer instructions for safety rules can help you to avoid these problems which could cause you harm on your road trip.
Staying Safe Over the Summer Travel Season
Ensuring your car is adequately maintained and safe to drive is just one of several things you should do before going on a road trip in order to avoid a potential disaster on your route. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has other tips for motorists who will be traveling over the summer.
NHTSA advises drivers to ensure they stay sober behind the wheel. A death due to drunk driving happens every 52 minutes. Deciding who will act as a designated driver before you go drinking will allow you to have as much alcohol as you want to consume without potentially taking someone's life while driving home.
NHTSA also advises drivers against operating a vehicle when distracted, which can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Ten percent of deadly accidents and 18 percent of accidents causing injury in the United States occur because a driver is distracted.
While you can pay attention to the road, drive the speed limit, and stay sober, you cannot control the behavior of others around you. Because there is always a risk someone could hit your vehicle and hurt you, you should make sure you have both a shoulder and a lap belt on when you are in the car. Adults who are buckled with a shoulder and lap belt have half the risk of a serious motor vehicle collision injury compared with someone unbuckled. The risk of fatal injuries is also reduced by 45 percent by wearing a shoulder and lap belt.
Seat belts do not do enough to protect kids, so children up to age four (at least) should be secured in a car seat. Kids too old for a car seat but who are under age 13 should sit in the back of the vehicle so they aren't hurt by the air bag.
Drivers who make these and other smart and safe choices have a greater chance of getting to their destination without incident. If you are going on a road trip, you owe it to yourself and those you love to ensure you have taken care of your car and made safe choices to avoid an accident.