Summer is here. Before you pack for a road trip, it is important to be sure your family and home are safe and secure. While this season is one for fun and relaxation, it is also one of the riskiest travel times of the year, and preparing for a road trip can be one of the most stressful parts of your vacation. Nearly 75% of all Americans who take summer vacations plan to drive.

Here are a few ways to prepare for a road trip that will enhance your overall summer travel experience:

PACK YOUR MEDICINE

If you or any family members take medications, be sure a supply is packed for the duration of your get-away. However, do not leave your medicine in a hot car. Heat can affect some medications. Also make note of your physician’s name and phone number, and bring your health and dental insurance cards along—just in case!

BE A PREPARED PARENT

If you are headed to the beach or another sunny destination, be sure to pack sun protection. Bring plenty of sunscreen, floppy hats and UV-resistant clothing. And, don’t forget to pack your sunglasses.

STOP ALL DELIVERIES; SET THE LIGHT TIMERS

Be sure to suspend delivery of your mail and home-delivered newspapers, and ask a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative to drive by your residence a few times while you are away. They will be able to ensure there are no packages on your doorstep that would signal you are away. It is also wise to put a few lights inside your residence on timers so they will give the appearance that someone is home.

DON’T OVERLOAD

When packing, the car can fill up quickly. Try not to take more than you need. It is also advisable to ensure the car’s load is evenly balanced.

KNOW THE ROUTE

Be sure to familiarize yourself with your travel route. Relying solely on a GPS can lead to dangerous last minute turns and lane changes.

TAKE A BREAK

When traveling long distances, it is important to take frequent breaks to help maintain focus and prevent fatigue. Getting out of the car to move around can also help avoid blood clots in legs and minimize lower back pain.

SECURE YOUR PETS

If you are traveling with pets, be sure they are secured appropriately and never let them loose in the vehicle. They, too, need breaks outside the car to run around, eat, rehydrate, and answer the call of nature. Treat them just like you would treat a human member of the family. Never leave them unattended in a hot vehicle.

With a little planning, your summer vacation can be a happy, healthy getaway for you and your family.

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