Road trip Checklist

Road Trip Check List

Summer road trip checklist

It’ summertime! Time to pack up the vehicle and head out into the great unknown. Whether it’s a quick trip over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house or a cross-country drive to a new destination, there are several steps you should take to stay safe on the road.

 Here is a list of four simple things you can prepare to ensure safer travel.

  • Check your tires to ensure they are in good traveling condition. Worn tread, tire baldness or bulging could mean big trouble on the open road.
  • Know how to check the basic function of your vehicle. Check the oil, windshield wipers, antifreeze levels and all lights inside and outside of the vehicle before the trip. Prevention is always the best answer.
  • When going cross-country, or on an unfamiliar route, plan your gas station stops well. No one wants to run out of gas in the hot summer weather.
  • Drive defensively. You probably drive safely, but that doesn’t mean the other drivers will. Expect the unexpected. Always keep your eyes on the road, never text or operate the GPS, and do not let others in the car distract you from your greatest responsibility- Arriving to your final destination safely!

Always remember to buckle up, and never drink and drive. Have a fun time on your summer travels. For some driving techniques, visit before you head out on the road.

Keep Summer Bicyclist Safe on the Road

Bicycle Safety

During the dark and dreary days of winter, many of us long for the warmth of the sun. We dream about summertime and its abundance of pleasures, such as backyard barbecues full of good friends and delicious food, lazy days spent by the pool, endless warm nights, and copious amounts of perfectly chilled watermelon.

For some, summer is the time to dust off the old bicycle. No longer confined to the boxes we call cars, free to roam the streets on two wheels with the sun on your face and wind in your hair. No matter how glorious this may be, it comes neatly wrapped in a package of potential danger. However, bicyclist tend to be aware that vehicles dominate the road, it is the person operating the vehicle that is often unaware of laws that come along with keeping the two-wheeled pedestrians safe.

This summer is no different than any other. As you drive to work, the grocery store, friends and family homes, you will see many happy bicyclists along the way. So, let’s keep them that way, happy. Or more importantly, alive. “It’s a two-way street” most certainly applies in this situation, but keep in mind that operating a 2-ton vehicle compared to 20 pounds of aluminum is not much of a competition. The vehicle will always win that fight.

Keep these 9 rules in mind while sharing the road with bicyclist:

1. Know Bicyclists’ Rights – Often drivers have little or no idea what traffic laws apply to someone riding a bike. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that “cyclists 10 years and older should behave as though they were vehicles on the street, riding in the same direction as other traffic that’s going their way and following the same traffic rules”

2. Adjust Your Attitude – Stop and think about the fact that it is an actual human being on that bike before you let your impatience get the best of you. What if that person was one of your loved ones? Cyclists are not mere objects, but people, just like you

3. Consider the Benefits, for You, the Driver – When someone chooses to ride their bike, for you, that means less traffic, less congestions, and less pollution, all things that come along with driving a car

4. Be Aware When Making a Right Turn – When making a right turn be especially aware of any surrounding cyclists. Often they will be a little behind and to your right, and may be planning to ride straight ahead. Use your turn signal at all times and watch for the proper signal from the cyclists, which is the left hand raised in a squared position, or an extended right hand

5. Be Aware When Making a Left Turn – A bike can easily get to 15 – 20 mph speeds. Often when a collision happens during a left turn the driver didn’t realize that the cyclist was going that fast. Rule of thumb: when in doubt, yield

6. Three Feet Clearance – Motorists are required to give bicycles on the roadway at least 3 feet of space. More than 20 states have actually passed this law. This helps give both cyclist and motorist a concrete frame of reference. Besides giving a cyclist space, pass them slowly and smoothly. Speeding up to pass them quickly can be unnerving to the cyclist

7. Look Around (Not at Your Phone) – When it comes to bicycle injuries, the motorist almost always says “I never saw him before I hit him.” Paying attention to your surroundings is driving 101, but unfortunately we can get distracted or lose focus on what is going on around us. Always be aware of who and what is around you, never “check” your phone, and take mental notes when a cyclist is within your vicinity

8. Check Your Mirror When Exiting Your Car – Someone who is riding their bike down the street is going to stay as far out of the middle of the road as possible. This means that they are passing parked cars closely. Make sure you look before you open your car door to be sure that you don’t cause an impact between your door and the cyclist

9. Bicyclists Are Here to Stay – This goes back to the yearning for summertime. Bikes have been around for centuries and will continue to be a part of this human life. The term “it’s like riding a bike” didn’t come along for nothing. Make peace with the biking masses for everyone’s safety

Keeping the roads safe starts with you. You cannot be responsible for anyone else, only yourself, so make sure that you are doing everything you can to lessen the possibility for accidents. Whether you are the one enjoying a summer day on your bike or the motorists passing by, keep your eyes open, follow the traffic laws, and you’ll be doing your part to keep our streets a safe place to travel on.

For additional tips on driving techniques, visit

The Safest Cars for Teen Drivers


Choose a safe car for your teen

Once your teen can drive, you want them to say “yes, mom and dad, your incredibly safe and airbag filled minivan IS cool, I wouldn’t want to drive anything else,” but we all know that is not the case. Not to worry, there are plenty of cars out there that have been designed to handle wear and tear, are cost effective, and more importantly very safe.

Here are a few things to consider when the day comes that you buy a vehicle for your teen driver:

  • Bigger = Safer – Heavier automobiles are safer and will typically win in a time of  a collision. Larger vehicles such as SUV’s can be a wise choice for your new driver
  • Avoid high horsepower –  Plain and simple – they just don’t have the experience to understand how this kind of power effects a vehicle and are likely to not know how to safely operate them
  •  Electronic stability – This technology has been mandatory in vehicles since 2012. It automatically helps maintain stability while navigating the terrain. There is proof that this technology has reduced fatal crashes nearly by half.

The fatal rate for teenagers is 3 x times higher than all other drivers. However, within the past 10 years, the safety requirements for vehicles have improved tremendously. The industry has been required to improve the safety aspects of all their vehicles.  Any parent will worry regardless, but there are reliable and safe vehicles available that can help put your mind at ease.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released a list of vehicles, which they have categorized into “good choices” and “best choices.” This shows the best large cars, midsize cars, small SUVs, midsize SUVs, large SUVs, minivans, and pickups in both the “good choices” and “best choices” categories, all of which start under $20,000.

Make sure your child gets a proper driving education and plenty of supervised road time. Giving them the necessary skills to know how to navigate in the world of driving is the only way to truly help them stay safe on the road.