Some of my best memories are from road trips I’ve taken throughout my life. As a child, I road-tripped with my grandparents to San Francisco and with my parents to Oregon. I’ve driven to Mexico on mission trips with my church and gone to Las Vegas with college buddies. Nate and I have driven through Washington and Arizona, and have always longed to one day take a trek across the entire United States (though that may be delayed a bit since Some Boy came along). As fun as road trips are, they can easily turn into a nightmare if you aren’t careful. Here are some tips for keeping your family safe on the road:

1. Don’t drink and drive. A lot of people travel great distances to attend family BBQs, where beer and wine flow easily. Parents sometimes think they’re okay after a drink or two (especially when the kids are tired and all you want to do is get them home and in bed), but it’s never worth the risk.

2. Don’t drive tired. Get enough rest before a road trip, and pull over if you think you may be falling asleep. Take a little nap to rejuvenate yourself if necessary.

3. Know your emergency contacts. If a tire blows out or you run out of gas, who are you going to call? Make sure you have AAA’s number handy, and keep your cell phone charged.

4. Be aware of your surroundings. If someone is driving unsafely around you, slow down to let them by so they don’t road rage and potentially hurt you AND themselves.

5. Keep your vehicle maintained. Think you can ignore a chip in your windshield? Think again! The windshield provides up to 30% of your vehicles structural integrity, and a chip smaller than 6 inches (or the size of a dollar bill) can easily be repaired by filling it with a special resin.

A chip could turn into a crack at any time, often when you are least expecting it. Windshield repair is often a safe and economical alternative to a full windshield replacement.

6. Know the route. Study the map BEFORE you go so there aren’t any surprise last-minute, “Hey, we’re supposed to exit…back there!” moments that can lead to arguments and distraction on the road.

7. Pack food. Snacking along the way will keep your blood sugar up and help you pay attention to the road.

8. Pack properly. Keep essentials in an easy-to-reach place, and don’t place bags in an area that will block your view out of the car.

9. Keep kids entertained. Bring games or videos along to keep the kids occupied so they aren’t a constant distraction with their, “Are we there yet?” pondering.

10. Maintain the car temperature. If it’s to hot in the vehicle, you’ll get dehydrated and tired, making an accident more likely. Keep the air conditioner on or lower windows when appropriate.

I hope these tips help you get through your summer road trips without incident! What are your top car safety tips?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Safelite blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.