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Tips for a safe road trip

As families and friends prepare to hit the road for summer vacation, there are preparations to make to ensure the road trip is as safe as it is fun. Here are some tips to help you take the proper precautions for a safe trip.

1. Check before driving.
Be careful not to end up on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Before you go, check the tire pressure (including the spare tire), the condition of the windshield wipers and the fluid levels. Double check that all lights, brakes, belts and signals are working. This is best done by professionals, so bring the car in for a check-up before you go.

2. Print maps.
The open road can be unpredictable, so before you get lost, map the route and take copies of maps and directions with you. It is possible that you will get somewhere where you cannot use GPS. Take note of gas stations and maintenance areas, if necessary. Plus, less distraction playing with the GPS means much safer driving!

3. Store essentials
Don't forget to pack the essentials, such as plenty of water and snacks, an emergency kit, games and activities for your fellow travelers. In addition, remember that the emergency kit includes a flashlight, gloves, a jack and jumper cables. And don't forget the songs – create a playlist, and download podcasts and audiobooks to switch over.

4. Stay alert and give yourself time.
It can be tempting to just drive once you're on the road, but watch out for the signs of exhaustion. Driving while tired reduces alertness and reaction time, putting the driver, passengers and everyone else on the road at risk. Take breaks for snacks, meals, toilet and fresh air during the journey, with no pressure to get to the destination faster than necessary.