School is out, graduations are over and the heat of summer is on. You’ve got your suntan lotion, a giant cooler ‘ you’re ready for a summer road trip. Or maybe you’re just putting up with the usual hours long commute in stop-and-go traffic, but with waves of heat bouncing off the asphalt. A few hours of prep now might save you from hours stuck on the side of the road, a big repair bill and a ruined vacation. Whether you have longstanding travel plans, a last minute road trip in mind, or just sticking around town this summer, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reminds you to give some thought to your summer travel to ensure everyone arrives safely and can enjoy the trip.
Plan Your Trip
Plan, map and estimate the duration of your driving ahead of time and let others know your plans. You can estimate the cost of gas for your trip here. Expect to encounter roadwork, delays & detours – ‘Slow for the Cone Zone’ Check road conditions, including possible road closures by www.ots.ca.gov before graduating from a booster to a seat belt.
Focus on the Road
Don’t text or talk on your cell phone while driving – even hands-free. If you need to make a call, check road or weather conditions or respond to a text, wait until you stop in safe place, such as a rest stop or parking lot. Don’t program your mobile GPS while you are driving. Either have a passenger do it or stop in a safe place. Share the driving with other passengers to avoid fatigue. Rest – driving while drowsy can be fatal. Even a 20 minute nap can do wonders. Schedule your trip to allow for frequent breaks. Take time to pull over at rest stops to stretch your legs and focus your head. Stop for food or beverages. Avoid eating while driving. Don’t fall into the trap of driving while angry – aggressive driving kills.
Never Leave a Child Alone In a Car – Not Even For a Minute
Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open. An outside temperature of 101 degrees can easily result in an interior temperature of 140 degrees. If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.
Place your cell phone, purse or other important item needed at your next stop on the floor in front of a child in the backseat. This triggers adults to see children when they open the rear door and reach for their belongings.
Set your cell phone or Outlook reminder to be sure you dropped your child off at day care. Have a plan that if your child is late for daycare, you will be called within a few minutes. Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices. If a child is missing, check the pool first, and then your car or any other vehicles at your house, including car trunks.
Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play area.
Prepared by the California Office of Traffic Safety