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Road Trip Ready

Submitted by Michael Phelan on September 26, 2011 – 12:59 pm

Fall can be the time for late-season family vacations and weekend car trips to beaches, rivers, lakes, mountains or recreational facilities. Before hitting the highways, take the following safety precautions recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): 

Perform a vehicle safety inspection.

Never leave children or pets unattended in a parked vehicle — especially during warmer weather. Even on a relatively cool day and with windows partially cracked open, tempera tures inside a vehicle can soar, rapidly causing occupants to suffer from heat illness or even die from heatstroke.

Always use child safety or booster seats. NHTSA guide lines for proper child safety and booster seat use can be found at www.boosterseat.gov under “Which seat is right for my child?”

Have a fully charged cellphone, a cellphone charger and an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle.

All vehicle occupants must wear seat belts. This is the single most important way to keep you and your passengers safe on the road.

Avoid driver fatigue. Schedule your trip to allow for frequent breaks. Stopping for food or beverages, taking time to pull over at a rest stop just to stretch your legs, staying overnight at a motel or local bed and breakfast, and sharing the driving are all good strategies for avoiding fatigue and staying alert behind the wheel.

— Michael Phelan is an attorney for the Law Offices of Michael G. Phelan Esq. in Richmond, Virginia.