Are you packing up the car to visit family or friends this summer? Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip or a weekend getaway, we want you to arrive at your destination and return to Leominster, Gardner, Westminster or the surrounding towns in North Central, Massachusetts safely. That’s why we’re offering road trip safety tips for all your summer travels this season.
Prepare Your Car
Car troubles can throw a major hitch in your summer road trip plans. Before you hit the open road, take care of basic car maintenance to minimize your risk of a breakdown. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure your car is in good working order:
- Tire pressure
- Tire tread
- Car battery
- Transmission fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Windshield wiper fluids
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
- Emergency flashers
- Gas tank
Prepare Your Emergency Kit
Even though you’ve prepped your car, you can never fully eliminate the chance of car troubles, which is why it’s important to pack certain items in case of an emergency. A roadside safety kit should include a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, drinking water, extra snacks, emergency flares or reflectors, and a basic toolkit. You’ll also want to make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that you have a car phone charger in the event that you need to call for help or roadside assistance.
Know Your Route
Plan your route ahead of time and set your GPS device before you leave. Relying on technology can be helpful to get you where you’re going, but like anything, it’s best to be prepared if things don’t go as planned. If your device loses service or malfunctions, having a road map or printed out directions on hand can help you navigate your journey. If you’re traveling with others, it’s also a good idea to ask a passenger to be the navigator. This way you can concentrate on the road ahead and they can focus on the map and directions.
Share The Road
You’re not the only one enjoying the warmer weather this season — cyclists, motorcycle riders, and pedestrians will all be out and about. When you’re driving, it’s important to watch for cyclists and motorcycle riders in your blind spots. In addition to sharing the road, you’ll also want to watch for pedestrians, especially young ones. Be mindful when driving near playgrounds or parks, intersections, or in residential neighborhoods — drive slowly and always be alert of those around you.
Whether you’re listening to music too loudly, talking on the phone, or trying to grab a quick bite behind the wheel — these are all distractions that can take your eyes, ears, hands, and mind off the road. As mentioned earlier, setting your GPS ahead of time is the first step to avoid distracted driving, but ABM also recommends putting your cell phone away entirely. It’s also a good idea to give yourself extra time for pit stops, which can help limit distractions behind the wheel. For example, if you need a quick snack and a sip of water, it’s best to pull over at a rest stop instead of eating or drinking while driving. The same goes for the use of a cell phone. For any driver, the temptation of taking calls or texting behind the wheel may be there, but it is never safe. If you need to make a phone call, safely pull over first or have a passenger make the phone call instead.
Another reason why we recommend you plan extra time for pit stops is that, just like distracted driving, drowsy driving is a very real and incredibly risky. Did you know that missing just two to three hours of sleep can have similar effects as driving while under the influence? Getting a good night’s rest before a drive is imperative to your safety. And for longer drives, it’s recommended that you stop every few hours for a break.
No matter your destination this summer, we want your car ride to be memorable for all the right reasons. So before you pack up and leave, follow our summer road trip safety tips to prepare yourself and your car for the road ahead. As your neighbors, your safety is our top priority. For any questions driver safety or a new or existing car insurance policy, Anderson, Bagley & Mayo Insurance is always here to help. Contact us at one of our three convenient Massachusetts locations at 978-534-2800 (Leominster); 978-632-1098 (Gardner); 978-874-2921 (Westminster).