Packing up the car and hitting the open road can be a perfect opportunity to bond with your family. But, organizing a successful and safe road trip requires a bit of planning ahead. Take along these tips to properly prepare for your time in the car and make your family holiday road trip a happy and safe one.

Is your car safe enough for long trips?

Make sure it is. Schedule a quick maintenance appointment with a qualified mechanic at your local garage to fix anything that looks funky before it’s time to drive. Ensure that your car is in its best condition to prevent any mishaps or breakdowns while on the road. Check your brakes, tire pressure, battery, belts, air conditioner, etc. If you’re planning on driving in a region with a hot climate or in towing a boat or trailer, get a motor oil with a higher viscosity as well.

Stock up on supplies.

Take an inventory of all items in your car just to be sure you have flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, all necessary tools and other emergency supplies you may need while on the road.

Also, make sure that you don’t run out of fuel for both your car and your bellies. Keep everyone and everything fueled by stocking up on drinks, provisions, and fuel. Pack a full fuel can in your trunk just in case you run out of it in the middle of nowhere. Getting stuck on the side of the road in an unknown region won’t just delay your road trip, but it can be dangerous as well.

Pack your items safely.

Make sure you don’t have bags that aren’t properly secured or some other loose items in your car as they can become dangerous if you stop suddenly or become involved in an accident. You shoul put those items that are the heaviest in your car and toward the center. Tie down big bags or other bulky items such as strollers, and keep windows unobstructed. Give your children smaller bags to store electronics, snacks, and other essentials within reach. Don’t forget to check your child safety seats and whether everything is installed properly. If it happens that your family’s pet is making the journey with you, secure them or their traveling kennel as well.

Keep an eye on the sky.

Weather may be different in different regions, so you should make sure that you are ready for any situation. Download an application on your smartphone to stay informed on moving storms. You can also turn the radio if you don’t have a cell phone service. Look up for NOAA radio Oceanic radio station in your state or tune into any other FM news frequency to stay up-to-date with weather alerts. This can help you avoid bad weather or give you enough time to prepare yourself and find an alternate route or a safe location where to wait until the storm passes.

Get some rest.

Make sure you get some rest before you hit the road as driving while tired is equally dangerous like driving while under alcohool influence. Studies show that driving after being awake for long hours causes your brain to function like the brain of someone with blood alcohol content of 0.05% and as the time passes this amount doubles.

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Statistics show that every year drowsy drivers cause over a thousand fatal accidents. So, to avoid accidents and keep your family safe on the road, get enough rest before you begin your road trip. Also, make frequent stops during your trip to stretch your legs, refresh yourself or trade off with someone who is refreshed, talk to your kids to stay alert, etc.

Be aware of other drivers on the road.

Just like there are people who drive while tired, there are also those who drive while drunk or while under the influence of some other substance. Car accidents can happen at any moment and it is best that you are properly prepared. Take all necessary documentation with you as well as your insurance card, and ask your lawyer what to do and how to behave if an accident still occurs.