As Texans take off across our roadways over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would like to pass along a few helpful tips to ensure safe travels. Prevention and planning are much easier than dealing with the consequences of a breakdown or, worse yet, a highway crash.
Review a Vehicle Safety Checklist
Regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing breakdowns before they happen.
- Check tires for proper air pressure, tread wear and a spare.
- Check wiper blades, the cooling system (for needed servicing and coolant level), fluid levels, lights, and the air-conditioning system.
Protect the Children
If you’re traveling with children, find out how to best keep them safe.
- Make sure car seats and booster seats are properly installed and that any children riding with you are in the restraint system best suited to protect them.
- All children 12 and younger should ride in the back seat. Never leave children alone in a vehicle during the summer.
On the Road
Getting there is half the fun of a road trip vacation. It’s also half the hassle. Plenty of distractions both inside and outside your vehicle can take your attention from the road.
- The focus of any driver, at all times, should be driving. Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involve some form of driver distraction.
- Everybody aboard must agree to wear their seat belts every time they are riding or driving in your vehicle.
- Be responsible and don’t drink and drive.
Emergency Roadside Kit
Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down, so it’s advisable to put together an emergency roadside kit to carry with you. Suggested emergency roadside kit contents include:
- a cell phone;
- a first aid kit;
- a flashlight;
- flares and a white flag;
- jumper cables;
- a jack (and a ground mat) for changing a tire;
- work gloves and a change of clothes;
- basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak);
- a jug of water and paper towels for cleaning up;
- nonperishable food, drinking water and medicines;
- extra windshield washer fluid; and