Summer Safety: Safety on Summer Road Trips

You want to put heavy items, such as loaded coolers, as far forward as possible, so if you slam on the brakes, they don't have far to travel. And you want them low and centered. If they're high and to the side they can contribute to rollovers, so on the floor near the front is best.

Moving up to the driver's seat, you want to have essentials like your cell phone, sunglasses and maps in arm's reach for safety's sake, but it's best not to keep them out. Just get in the habit of tucking those items in the console right next to you, instead of leaving them lying on the seat.

Web Takeaway: Watch Out for These Hazards

Before You Go:

Keep the pressure on.

Under-inflation and tire tread may not seem like a big deal but tire maintenance is important for the safety of your family. Underinflated tires can cause handling problems, or even a blowout. Overinflation causes the center of the tire to bulge out and rub the road unevenly, wearing your tires our prematurely.

Do the Lincoln vs. Washington tire test.

To get the best handling during sudden downpours, which are common in warm weather, TireRack.com recommends replacing your tires when you have an 8th of an inch of tread depth instead of the traditional 16th of an inch, outlined in the penny test.

TireRack.com has shown that the penny test -- where you insert a penny into your tire tread with Lincoln's head facing down and if the tread touches the tip of Lincoln's head, you have a 16th of an inch of tire depth, which is the minimum -- can show tread that is not robust enough for heavy rain.

Instead, they suggest using a Washington Quarter to test your tires. If your tire tread touches the tip of Washingotn's head, you have an 8th of an inch of tire remaining.

Hazards on the Road:

Potholes

Here's a good tip to keep your tires in better shape longer: avoid potholes, and if you can't, slow down as much as traffic allows before hitting them. Rolling over just a single pothole can reduce a tire's durability, knock the vehicle out of alignment and reduce the overall ride quality.

Uneven Pavement

Whenever you see road construction, be on the lookout for uneven lanes that sometimes have sharp edges where the old pavement was ground away. It can be a two-inch difference between lanes if the crew hasn't been able to smooth the transition between lanes. Be prepared for the change and slow down a bit when transitioning to make sure you keep control.

If you'd rather avoid it all together, TripTik Travel Planner on AAA.com can help you avoid construction-caused congestion.

Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Car

Just like a cooler can become a projectile in the car, an unsecured animal can cause injury to itself or the human passengers during a crash.

You may want to consider a seat-belt harness that can keep the pet in place or a pet barrier that separates it from the human passengers.

An unsecured animal can become a dangerous projectile in a crash, risking injury to itself and the human passengers. To reduce those risks, consider a seat-belt harness that can keep your pet restrained or a pet barrier that keeps the animal safely contained behind the rear seat. There are also mats and liners available to protect your seats from scratching, drool and other pet wear.

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