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Arrive Alive

Posted on in Car Accidents

With summer in full bloom, motorists are streaming to the nation's highways for trips to the lake, beach, cabin and other vacation destinations. Before embarking on a trip that could take from several hours to several days, however, be cautious and make sure that you, your passengers and your vehicle are well prepared.

Conduct a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle to check for proper tire inflation, worn treads, a working spare tire, operating headlights and taillights, and fluid levels. With overloaded vehicles and summer heat, worn treads or underinflated tires can result in accidents. Take along an emergency roadside kit that contains water, first-aid equipment and packaged food.

Infants and toddlers should be securely and properly seated in child safety restraints. Of course, everyone needs to have a seat belt. Children can be entertained easily on long trips with books, portable DVD players or video games. Stopping at planned intervals at restaurants, museums, play areas or other attractions can also make a long drive less onerous on everyone.

Driver distractions are a major cause of car accidents. Do not use your cell phone or text while driving. To avoid accidents from fatigue, there should be at least one other person who can drive. Stop to rest frequently and be sufficiently hydrated and well fed. Avoid eating in the car, however, especially if you're the driver. When you are selecting road maps, which are free with an AAA membership, choose ones that list attractions, restaurants and motels so that you can easily plan your daily mileage and know where to obtain services and lodging.

Make an effort to be calm and avoid becoming angry with other drivers, even aggressive ones. There is also no need to speed, especially if you have planned your trip and know where lodging and other services are located. If your vehicle has a flat tire or engine trouble, get off the highway and avoid undertaking any repair work on a highway shoulder, especially at night. If you need to perform repairs, do them as far off the roadway as possible.

Above all, never drink and drive or operate a motor vehicle if you are taking prescription medication that can cause drowsiness. If you suspect a drunk driver, you owe it to everyone on the roadway to call 911 and notify the authorities.

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