Summer is the season of road trips. While there may be some arguments about what music to listen to, everyone in the car can agree on the importance of arriving safely at your destination.

Before you hit the road, review my safety tips below and do some preparation to avoid the most common vehicle issues and driving risks. Advanced planning now can prevent future car trouble — or worse — and keep your worries at bay during your vacation.

What to check before you go

Regular maintenance — including tune-ups, oil changes, and battery checks — can prevent many breakdowns before they occur. Make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and is in good condition to drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also recommends the following basic safety checks:

– Tires (air pressure, tread, wear, spear)
– Belts and hoses
– Wiper blades
– Cooling system
– Fluid levels
– Lights
– Air conditioning

What to pack

You’ll want to take basic safety equipment with you (and probably some snacks, too). Here are the essentials.

– Child safety and/or booster seats
– Emergency roadside kit

Not sure what to include in your emergency roadside kit?

Start with the following.

– Cell phone
– First aid kit
– Flashlight
– Flares and a white flag
– Jumper cables
– Jack (for changing a tire)
– Basic repair tools
– Water, paper towels, and other cleaning materials
– Drinking water
– Nonperishable food
– Extra windshield washer fluid
– Maps

Safe driving tips

Distracted driving is a major factor in fatal car crashes, and unfortunately road trips tend to bring plenty of distractions: cranky passengers in the backseat, unfamiliar highways, and traffic. My advice to travelers on a road trip is the same as my advice to anyone driving — distractions are inevitable, but you can counter them and stay focused with safe driving practices.

Stay focused with frequent breaks.

Road trips are enjoyable, but they’re also often exhausting. Frequent breaks, including quick stops at rest stops to stretch your legs, can help you stay awake and alert. If you’re traveling with kids, there’s a good chance you’ll hear an “Are we there yet?” or two. Stopping along the way can make the trip easier for little ones too.

Always buckle up.

Seat belts are the number-one thing you can do to stay safe, so make sure everyone in the car is buckled up at all times.

Avoid risky driving behaviors.

I’ve already mentioned distracted driving. Some of the biggest risks are cell phone use, texting, eating, and talking while driving. In addition to avoiding these behaviors yourself, talk with the other passengers, especially anyone sharing driving duties, to set ground rules ahead of time.

I have seen far too many lives lost due to impaired driving. Make sure that no one drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you plan to drink, get a designated driver beforehand.

Finally, as always, follow the speed limit and obey any other traffic signs.

Get legal help after a car crash

Accidents happen, and when they do, it’s essential to choose a lawyer who understands the physical and emotional stress of a car crash. As an auto accident lawyer Memphis has turned to for several decades, I have helped victims of all ages pick up the pieces in the aftermath and get the compensation they deserve.

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident, our Memphis car accident lawyers can help. Contact us online today or call 901-327-1212 to speak with an auto accident lawyer Memphis trusts.