Michigan’s Peter Vitale On Summer Road Trip Safety — Side Car

Peter Vitale, Michigan Insurance Pro

With the warmer months of summer finally here, many drivers find themselves itching to hit the open road, says Peter Vitale. Unfortunately, summer is also the time of year that tends to see the most car accidents across the country. This is likely due to the fact that summer sees harsh weather (including heavy downpours that can create unsafe driving conditions) as well as more road construction. Of course, this isn’t to say that there aren’t ways to enjoy summer road trips safely and confidently. For those who are planning summer road trips, Michigan-based auto insurance specialist Peter Vitale offers some important safety precautions to keep in mind.

Start With a Safe Car

  • tire pressure
  • coolant levels
  • brake pad wear
  • belts and hoses
  • filters
  • turn signal/brake lights
  • windshield wiper blades
  • windshield wiper fluids

Drivers and their passengers can enjoy some extra peace of mind while leaving on a summer road trip when they know they’re getting into a safe car. From there, the driver will be able to rely on the car’s safe operation to avoid accidents, breakdowns, and other safety risks.

Research and Study Routes

For this reason, those planning on taking a summer road trip should take the time to research and plan their routes ahead of time. This doesn’t have to mean studying and knowing every single turn from memory, but drivers can enjoy a much greater sense of confidence behind the wheel when they at least have a general idea of where they’re going. Plus, free route-planning resources like Google Maps make it easier than ever to preview routes and even explore alternative routes prior to leaving on a trip.

Check the Weather

In general, it’s best to start checking weather forecasts a few days before leaving on a trip. From there, reviewing the forecast daily up until the morning of the trip is best so that any changes to one’s travel schedule can be made as needed.

Even while on the road, it’s a good idea to occasionally tune in to a local news radio station for weather updates. This way, if a weather threat does approach, it will be possible to pull off the road and wait out the storm somewhere safe until it passes. It’s always better to lose a little bit of travel time than it is to be stuck in a potentially dangerous weather situation on the road.

Stay Vigilant About Fuel

The trouble with summer road trips, however, is that it’s easy to end up low on fuel in an unfamiliar area. A lot of times, drivers will see that they’re getting low on fuel but will assume that they’ll come across a fuel stop within the next few miles. When driving through remote areas, however, it could be 50 miles or more before the next fuel stop. This is exactly how otherwise cautious drivers end up stranded on the side of the road with an empty fuel tank.

Previewing one’s route and making note of key fuel stops along the way is a great way to avoid this, as is never letting the car’s fuel gauge fall below a quarter tank in an unfamiliar area.

Avoid Distracted Driving

So, what constitutes distracted driving? While texting and driving is one of the first things that come to mind for most people, the reality is that any activity that steals a driver’s attention away from the road can be considered distracted driving. This can include:

  • eating or drinking behind the wheel
  • loud or otherwise distracting passengers
  • loud music
  • trying to multitask while driving (such as applying makeup behind the wheel)

By being aware of the most common sources of distracted driving, motorists can make more responsible decisions to avoid this dangerous activity themselves. By focusing one’s attention on the road at all times, drivers are less likely to get into accidents or find themselves in other unsafe situations.

Know When to Take Breaks

Unfortunately, being tired behind the wheel can create all kinds of unsafe conditions. For example, driving while drowsy can significantly decrease a person’s reaction time, making it more difficult for them to safely react and adapt to changing conditions on the road. This, in turn, can make them more likely to get into an accident.

To avoid drowsy driving, it’s always a good idea to plan breaks and stops for rest, especially on longer road trips. This may even include stopping at a hotel overnight or, at the very least, sleeping in a rest stop parking lot if a driver becomes too tired to continue safely. Likewise, tackling road trips with friends who can take turns behind the wheel is a great way to cover more distance without anybody having to sacrifice sleep.

Keep Little Ones Safe

Unfortunately, a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that up to 59% of car seats in the United States are incorrectly installed. Peter Vitale recommends checking local police stations, or municipal buildings, for assistance with car seat installation. As many towns provide these services for residents, they are excellent sources of assistance.

Before embarking on a summer road trip, then, it’s never a bad idea to review car seat installation guidelines found in the specific car seat manual. There are also important guidelines regarding the ages, heights, and weights at which different types of car seats should be used for children. By knowing that children are buckled up and secured properly, parents can enjoy extra peace of mind behind the wheel.

Revisit Insurance Coverage

As Michigan-based auto insurance expert Peter Vitale explains, there are many different insurance types out there. Being aware of these different coverage types, Peter Vitale says, and knowing how to choose the right coverage, can keep drivers properly protected behind the wheel.

Peter Vitale on the Bottom Line

Peter Vitale, Michigan Insurance Pro
Peter Vitale, Michigan Insurance Pro

Originally published at https://www.side.cr on June 17, 2021.

Entrepreneur, Insurance Consultant, Owner of Bloomfield Insurance Group