Family Road Trip Safety Tips

Think a good old-fashioned road trip is going out of style? Think again! According to an article published in the New York Times, family road trips are a priority throughout many American households. So, as the temperature outside heats up and school winds down for summer break, more and more families are putting their vacation plans into action.  Although fun in the sun is waiting for you at your destination, you want to keep your family safe, and the best way to do that is to plan and prepare as much as possible. Before you put the pedal to the metal, read our family road trip safety tips, so you can learn how to stay safe on the road.

Road Trip


Thoroughly planning your trip might not sound like it, but it is one of the most important family road trip safety tips. Finding a place to stay and filling up your itinerary with fun things to do and beautiful sights to see are only but small portions of the vacation planning process. Road tripping to your destination seems easy enough–especially with GPS and cell phone apps at your disposal. But, do not rely on modern technology alone. While it is endlessly helpful (and you will most likely make use of it throughout the trip), it is also fallible and seemingly likes to malfunction when you need it most.

Instead, take an old-fashioned map with you, study the area ahead of time, and make sure to research any useful locations, such as rest stops and restaurants, before you hit the road. You should also consider traffic, road blocks, and weather conditions. The more information you have regarding these things, the more you can prepare your route or routes (both there and back). You may have to research alternative detours and anticipate varying arrival times, but if you have a good idea of what lies ahead, you will not have to waste valuable vacation time recalibrating.

Car Maintenance

Before any lengthy road trip, it is crucial that you make sure that your car is functioning properly. To give you peace of mind and to ensure that your car can make the trip, schedule a checkup with a trusted mechanic. In an effort to keep you and your family safe on the road, they will check your vehicle’s fluid levels, wipers, battery, tires, and more.  Even with the best car upkeep, you can still encounter some unfortunate car problems. So, it is never a bad idea to study some basic car knowledge, such as how to change a tire, before your family road trip. This way, if you ever find yourself on the side of the road without a smart phone, you will know what to do.

Side Mirror



Making rest a priority is crucial to staying safe on the road. It can be difficult to catch up on sleep in general, much less before a family road trip. During these lively times, houses are normally full of family members who are anxious to get on the road. Unfortunately, the adrenaline that we experience prohibits a good night’s rest, which is vital for our brains to stay alert and focused while driving on the road. So, do your best to get some rest between any last-minute errands. One way to stay well-rested is to stay organized; an organized mind is a calm mind, and the more organized you are, the more time you have to rest before the big trip.

With that said, do not plan to just get all of your rest before the drive. While traveling to your destination, remember to take small pitstops every 2-3 hours to switch drivers.

Pack Lots of Snacks and Beverages

When traveling by car–especially with children–it is important to stock your vehicle with a variety of snacks and beverages. This will give everyone the energy that they need, and it will help curb any potential hunger pangs as well.

More than that, if something delays your trip, such as a flat tire or dead car battery, you will not be stuck with car trouble and grumpy, hungry, and thirsty family members. Try to pack a cooler that contains foods with lots of nutritional value, such as apples, oranges, cheese sticks, and carrots. Fruits and vegetables will not spike blood sugar levels as fast as sugary, processed items, which can cause hyperactivity and sluggishness.

Be Prepared

Vacation staples typically include sunglasses, swimsuits, fishing gear, a good book, and more. We are often too busy and excited to consider the reality that we may need to bring things that aren’t as fun, including:

  • A flashlight
  • Blankets
  • Flares
  • Sunscreen
  • A spare tire, along with changing tools
  • Jumper cables
  • An emergency kit
  • A fully charged cellphone and an additional cell phone charger

Every road trip is different, so take the time to come up with any tools that would be useful to you and your family—especially in a dire situation. You do not want a simple mistake or oversight to completely ruin an otherwise awesome family vacation.

Sun Protection

Protecting yourself and family members from the sun is a great—and an often overlooked—way to stay safe on the road. The sun’s harmful UV rays can be a real threat to anyone, but they are especially dangerous to young children who do not have the means or motor skills to shield themselves. Sunscreen is, ultimately, the best way to defend against sunburn while driving, even if your vehicle has tinted windows. Furthermore, the driver should consider wearing sunglasses, as doing so will help protect their eyes from any harsh sunlight. Sunglasses will also help keep the driver’s eyes awake!

VW Bus


Whether you are taking your family across the United States or throughout the wonderful state of Oregon, be sure to error on the side of the caution. These family road trip safety tips on how to stay safe on the road can help you reduce the risk of injury. If you or a family member were involved in an unfortunate circumstance that requires expert legal counsel, please contact Portland personal injury attorney Travis Mayor for a free consultation. Call (503) 406-6183 today.