Every parent wants to see their child ride, whether it’s their first time on a bike (sans training wheels) or watching them dangle your keys as they head out on the road. Follow these tips to ensure your family stays safe, healthy and happy.
Summertime is here, and so is vacation season. Believe it or not, more fatal accidents take place in the summer as a result of increased road trips and construction work. Here’s how to drive safe this season.
Before You Go
- Check your tire pressure to prevent breakdowns, improve handling and get better gas mileage. This means checking the spare as well!
- Check the engine, battery, and fluids, or have a technician do this for you, to make sure they can handle long distances.
- Ensure your lights, turn signals, brake lights and windshield wipers are all working before you get on the road.
- Don’t overpack and put too much stress on your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the maximum weight your car can handle.
- Stock a road-ready first aid kit with items like jumper cables and plenty of bottled water.
On the Road
- Always buckle up. And make sure little ones who require car seats are buckled correctly.
- Be careful during summer storms, which cause the most danger in the first half hour as oil, dirt, and water make the roads slippery.
- Watch out for motorcycle and bicycle riders who are out to take advantage of warm weather.
- Take your allergy medication. Unexpected sneezing or even allergy-induced drowsiness can make even the safest driver more dangerous behind the wheel.
- Never leave a child, or even a pet, in a hot car at a pit stop. Even with the windows open, it’s exponentially hotter inside a car.
Helmet & Bike Safety:
As your child runs out the door you yell, “Take your helmet!” You know it makes them safer, but did you know wearing a helmet reduces the risk of serious head and brain injury by 85% in the event of an accident?
Finding the Right Helmet
Both children and adults should be properly fitted for helmets. The safest helmet isn’t the necessarily the most expensive—it’s the one you’ll actually wear, keeping comfort and aesthetics in mind. Find the right fit by keeping three words in mind: Snug, Level, Stable.
- Start with buying a helmet that meets the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the Snell Memorial Foundation.
- It should fit snugly on the head with the chin straps, stay level on top of your head and be stable enough that it doesn’t tilt in any direction.
- If you crash, even if you barely hit your helmet, get a new one. The protective interior could be damaged even if the exterior appears to be fine.
One thing to keep in mind: the helmet is not a substitute for safe riding habits. Studies on the psychology of risk show that if people feel safer when they wear helmets, they may ride more dangerously, putting themselves at a greater risk of an accident.
What’s the bottom line? Your helmet is there to protect you in case an accident happens. But remember, remaining alert at all times and obeying traffic laws may help you avoid the accident altogether.