The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things about our daily lives, including how we vacation. All around the united states, the road trip is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. About 85% of Americans plan to take a road trip this summer, according to the Expedia 2020 Summer Travel Report, which polled more than 1,000 Americans. If you are planning a driving trip this summer, consider these tips for staying safe and being prepared.
Plan your route
Preparation is critical, even if you have visited the site before or are familiar with the area, check current local COVID restrictions and infection risk. Make sure to check if they require visitors to quarantine upon arrival. The Federal Highway Administration maintains a directory of state transportation department websites, which should have the latest state-specific coronavirus-related changes and links to other state resources such as traffic and weather alerts.
Stock your vehicle
Since you can pack much more of your own (properly sanitized) goods and avoid airports, road trips seem like the safest option. However, with case counts rising in parts of the country, it is smart to travel prepared. Consider a Covid-19 safety kit. Pack it with facemasks, gloves, sanitizer, toilet paper, and other goods that could go a long way in a pinch.
Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down, so it is important to pack an emergency roadside kit. The National Highway Transportation Safety Commission (NHTSA) recommends a pack that includes:
• Warm blankets
• Emergency fluids like oil or windshield washer fluid
• A flashlight
• Jumper cables
• Tools to change a tire
• A fully charged cell phone
• A first-aid kit
It is also wise to subscribe to a roadside assistance plan. Make sure you know where to call in an emergency and what kind of assistance your policy includes. Avoid pulling over on the side of the road unless it is an emergency - especially at night. If you do break down, make sure to pull over in a place with space for your entire vehicle and use emergency reflective triangles.
Be car seat smart
According to safekids.org, correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death in children by 71%. You can call 866-SEAT-CHECK or visit safefkids.org to find a nearby location for a free safety seat inspection. If you are traveling with young children or infants, make sure to cover their safety seats with a blanket when not in use. Covering the seats will help prevent them from getting too hot and burning their skin. Remember to never leave children unattended in a car. In 2019 the NHTSA reported that 52 children died of vehicular heatstroke, which is the highest number of deaths in 20 years.
Together we can help keep your family safe, well, and prepared while on the road.