Summer is just a short 4 weeks away, and for many families in Southwest Louisiana, that means vacation time. With pandemic precautions still in place, it also means more and more families will travel by car. So now is an excellent time to review summer travel safety tips.
Planning and preventative maintenance scheduled now can spare you headaches and potential car, truck, or motorcycle accidents later.
Avoidable Summer Statistics:
NHTSA reported 53 children perished from automobile heatstroke in 2019, this number is one of the highest in the last 20 years. A mere 104-degree core temperature is when a body begins to experience heatstroke. Additionally, 9,025 individuals perished in car wrecks from June 2019 through August 2019.
While there are many auto-related dangers to children, heatstroke of a child left unattended in a car is possibly the most avoidable. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended, not even for a couple of minutes. A child’s body temperature rises anywhere from 3x to 5x faster than adults, a vehicle heats up fast, even when temperatures are in the 70s.
Before getting in your automobile to back out of a parking spot, walk around your vehicle to check for children. While a backup camera is helpful and convenient, there are still blind spots, and children and pets at play tend to be oblivious to automobiles. Additionally, children tend to think that motorists are watching for them, not the other way around. As vehicles increase in height and size, so do the blind spots. Statistics show that SUVs, trucks, and RV’s a more likely than cars to be involved in backup accidents involving pedestrians. To increase safety when backing up, consider having an adult stand outside your vehicle, but within review mirror view, to assist the driver in backing up. While a bit inconvenient, taking this action is known to avoid pedestrian and vehicle accidents.
Summer Driving Tips
After scheduling your vacation, consider the following advanced planning tips before hitting the road.
Stock Your Vehicle with Emergency Gear
Create a roadside emergency kit – even if you regularly maintain your automobile, vehicles still break down. At a minimum, carry a cellphone to call for help if needed. NHTSA also recommends your roadside emergency kit contain: a cellphone charger – standard first aid kit – flares and white flag – flashlight – tire pressure gauge – jumper cables – a mat, jack, and tire for changing a flat tire – change of clothes for each occupant – work gloves – essential repair tools – duct tape for hose leaks – water and towels or wipes for clean-up – enough water, food, and medicine (when applicable) for each occupant to last a few days if stranded – map – emergency towels, blankets or coats.
Before You Hit the Road, Check for Recalls on Your Vehicle
Often, a car owner isn’t aware their vehicle has an issued safety recall – especially when the recall is widespread and the manufacturer issues notice over a series of months. To ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall, visit NHTSA.gov/Recalls and enter your vehicle’s VIN number into their lookup tool. NHTSA keeps records of recalls for 15 years.
Have Your Vehicle Serviced
Preventative maintenance such as battery checks, oil changes, tune-ups, and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing mishaps. If you are the original owner of your vehicle and have been faithful in having it serviced, chances are you are in good shape to travel; however, if you are uncertain of you cars historic servicing, have it inspected by a trusted mechanic or dealership before traveling long distances.
Unpopular, But Important – Know Your Car
If you are traveling in a new vehicle, consider reading the vehicle’s owner manual; at a minimum, familiarize yourself with the features you will be using on your trip. Traveling long distances in a new car in new conditions can affect your safety record. New vehicle features can influence your reaction time (electronic stability control, driver assist, and antilock brakes); learning these new features before a long trip is strongly advised.
Plan Your Route
Before heading out, research the route you will take. Check the weather forecast, traffic, and road conditions. Allow ample time to reach your destination. Giving yourself and your family extra time to take unscheduled restroom, food, sight-seeing, and stretching breaks can greatly increase the comfort, serenity, and safety of your trip. Always carry a map and familiarize yourself with travel directions using it, even if you have a GPS. Navigation systems are known to have areas of blackout or glitches. Do share your scheduled route with someone not traveling with you, along with your anticipated window of arrival.
The Lake Charles injury attorneys at Lundy Lundy Soileau & South wish you a summer of fun adventures and safe travel.
Summer Travel Tips – Before You Hit the Road – Lake Charles Car and Truck Accident Attorneys