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12 Summer Driving Safety Tips Before You Set Out on a Road Trip

Posted by Pekin Insurance on May 30, 2016

A little preparation in advance can be a big help on the road. These 12 summer driving tips will keep you safe in the car.


Summer is a time of spontaneity and sunshine, a time when people want to pack up and go somewhere new. After a long winter, you may be ready to jump in your car for a quick weekend road trip. Don’t be caught unprepared and have your dream vacation turn into your worst nightmare. 

To have an accident-free road trip, outing, or fair-weather adventure without mishaps or disasters, consider the following 12 summer driving safety tips before you turn the key in that ignition and head out with friends or family.

Be fun, be safe, and be prepared with these summer driving safety tips

Avoid roadside breakdowns, accidents, injuries, and misfortunes that quickly turn a fun road trip to a standstill, or worse, a day at the mechanic, hospital, or police station. That's not where you want to spend your time, so plan wisely and enjoy.

1. Cue up the music and put away your phone

We all know phone use and electronic distractions cause accidents, yet according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 660,000 drivers are still using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, and the number is rising. More than a quarter of car crashes can be attributed to cell phone use. Don’t be a statistic; prepare your soundtrack ahead of time, and only check your messages when you've stopped for a break.

2. Eat outdoors

A moving car does not a picnic make. A car is for driving, getting from one place to another, and not for dining. Summer road trips are meant to be enjoyed. Stop and eat where you can take in the scenery and savor your meal.

3. Be a master navigator

Let’s face it: getting lost on a road trip is the worst. Losing satellite feeds and battery power can cause you to lose your way. Plan ahead, and plot out your trip. Make sure your GPS device is charged and you have a paper map in hand in case your electronics fail you. Most importantly, program your route before you leave so you will not be distracted on the road. If you need to change course, make sure a passenger in the car can assist you. If not, pull over!

4. Check your tires

Summer weather can be brutal, and heat can cause tires to expand and trigger blowouts if your wheels are worn. Check your tires on a regular basis if you'll be driving in the heat. Also, ensure your spare is usable and that your jack and other tools are in good condition before you head out on a road trip.

5. Beat the heat

Your car isn’t the only thing at risk for overheating; you are too! Make sure you pack bottled water for drinking and keep a gallon of water in your trunk for emergencies. If your car overheats, which is common when you need to rely on an air conditioner, pull over and let it cool off.

The sun will also beat down on your dashboard, steering wheel, seats, and seatbelts. They may be painful to the touch. Using a sun shield when you’re parked can be very helpful and can also offer privacy.

6. Slow down

Rushing and feeling pressured to meet timelines is stressful on any vacation. When you're on a road trip, it can also be fatal if you’re speeding. According to the NHTSA, speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to crashes, and 28 percent of all fatal crashes are attributed to speeding. Stay safe. Slow down and enjoy the trip.

7. Share the fun

If your road trip is a long one, take turns driving. Drowsy driving can lead to serious, if not fatal, car accidents. If you are alone, make sure you break up the trip, take naps as needed, refresh with energy drinks or caffeine, and stay hydrated!

8. Don't drink and drive

It goes without saying that an adult beverage, if you are of age, is a welcome part of summer festivities and celebrations. It is not, however, a welcome addition to a road trip. Don’t drink alcohol if you are going to be behind the wheel. Be responsible and avoid endangering yourself, your loved ones, and innocent strangers by not drinking and driving.

9. Tailgate off road, not on

Tailgate is a word with two meanings. You can tailgate with food, but not with distance. At 60 mph, a typical car needs between 120 and 140 feet to reach a full stop. Most SUVs require an extra 5 to 10 feet on top of that. Keep your distance from the car in front of you, and save the tailgating for your destination or picnic break (see tip #2!).

10. Join a roadside rescue service

Breaking down on the road or away from home can really ruin a fun time and derail summer road trips. Have convenient access to services that get you off the road, to safety, and then back on track to your destination. Here at Pekin Insurance, we're always available to help you.  

11. Be in charge

Keep your car battery, your cell phone, and your GPS charged. Don't forget to pack your jumper cables, either. Also, consider pre-charged, portable, cordless cell phone chargers, so if your car dies, you cell phone won’t, and you can still get in touch with roadside assistance.

12. Have an emergency kit

Roadside flares, a first aid kit, extra oil, spare fuses, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a tire inflator are some essential items to have on hand in your car. For the summer, consider having a sheet in the back for the beach, for sleeping, and to use as a makeshift changing room if needed. Don’t forget water to keep you hydrated and your car cool.

Ride easy with these summer driving safety tips.

If you plan to embrace your family, friends, and a new destination on a road trip, play it safe. Before you get on the road this summer, make sure your automobile insurance coverage is up to par. We have the perfect auto insurance plans that can be tailored to your needs.

What are your favorite summer driving safety tips? Share them in the comments section.


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