Summer is here and many Americans will be on the road enjoying their summer break. Few things can ruin a road trip as much as a car accident. Good planning is key to arriving safely at your destination and enjoying your vacation. Learn how you can avoid an accident on a road trip and make the most out of your vacation.

Don’t Drink and Drive

According to drunk driving statistics in the United States, 28 people die every day from a drunk driving accident. A drunk driving accident can have a long list of consequences including but not limited to, jail time, fines, legal costs, medical bills, installation of an ignition interlock system on your vehicle, and others. You should never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even if it’s for a short distance. If you are caught driving while under the influence, the charges can impact several aspects of your life. Depending on the field you work in, some employment opportunities may be affected by a DUI charge on your record. If you have been drinking, consider asking a friend or relative for a ride, or call a rideshare service or a taxi to take you back to your hotel.

Avoid Distractions

Distractions like using a cellphone while driving, changing the music, eating behind the wheel, or glancing too long at a GPS device can all distract you from the road and lead to an accident. Studies by the Transport Research Laboratory found that texting slows a driver’s reactions by 35%, while drinking alcohol up to the legal limit slows reactions by 12%. Keep your eyes on the road and distractions to a minimum. If you need to change the destination(?) on a GPS device, pull over to a safe spot and change it there. Even taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can cause an accident, especially if you’re traveling at high speeds or in heavy traffic.

Do a Maintenance Check

Before leaving, make sure your vehicle is in good condition to be driving for long hours. Take your car to a trusted car mechanic and have the following checked:

  • Brakes
  • Tires conditions and air pressure
  • Fluid levels
  • Windshield wipers
  • Cooling and heating systems

Have your vehicle inspected weeks before your trip, this will give you some time to make any necessary fixes or change parts if it’s required.

Check the Weather

Check the weather to make sure you pack any car equipment that may be needed. If there will be snow on your way there then you may need tire chains, or there will be rain, then you will want to make sure that your tires are in good condition and your wipers are working. If the weather seems too dangerous to drive in, consider postponing your trip. Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that about 21% of all motor vehicle crashes each year are weather-related.

If you are hauling a trailer or using your car’s rooftop to carry bikes or other luggage, make sure that trailers are working properly and that all luggage on the rooftop is safely secured. Take this added weight into consideration when driving. It’s also recommended to avoid driving tired or drowsy and to always respect traffic laws. Taking all the necessary precautions before and during your road trip will help you, family, and friends avoid any injuries and other damages caused by a car crash.