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Summer Vacation Driving Tips

Presented by Scott Murray, Esq.

Hi - I'm attorney Scott Murray of the law firm, Murray & Guari. Our law offices serve residents of South Florida, and drivers just like you. From time to time we share important information on various consumer-related issues.

At this time of year, many of us are planning our summer vacations, and for a lot of us, this means we'll be driving to our vacation destinations. Prevention is key to avoiding accidents, and so we've listed a few tips to help make your road trip a little safer.

Number 1) Take care of your tires. They are vitally important to your families’ safety. Make sure that your tires are inflated to the proper pressure as identified on your vehicle. The recommended pressure is indicated either on the driver's door pillar, the glove compartment door or sometimes on the gas cap door.

Make sure to check the pressure periodically, and definitely before that big trip. Also, examine your tires for tread wear. Summers in Florida mean rain storms and standing water. Your chance of hydroplaning on wet roads is much higher with worn tires. Finally, to minimize tread wear.

Number 2) Make sure your windshield wipers work well and that you have plenty of wiper fluid. If the blades are a bit worn, replace them. Also, applying a product like RainX glass treatment to your windshield will help improve your driving visibility in rainy weather.

Number 3) Remember to regularly check your fluid levels. If you have not done so lately, check to see if you need your motor oil changed and while you are at it, have your other fluid levels checked also.

Number 4) Prepare an emergency kit for your car in case of summertime travel emergencies. This kit should include, at a minimum, a flashlight, flares, first-aid kit, jumper cables, basic tools and a disposable camera. Use the camera to take pictures if you are in an accident.

Tip Number 5) If you have children, check child restraints for a proper fit. At boosterseat.gov, parents can match a child to the correct restraint by entering in height and weight information. Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a list of local "child restraint fitting stations" that you can go to for fitting seats or to have questions answered.

Number 6) Pack smarter and lighter. Most of us are guilty of taking everything but the kitchen sink with us on road trips — stuffing our vehicles to the roof with coolers, suitcases, and other items — all to the detriment of the vehicle's handling - and the driver's visibility. Our advice is to bring only what's necessary. It pays to make a list of what you need days before your trip rather than rushing at the last minute and over packing.

In addition, once you've decided what to bring, don't pack items so high that they block your rearward vision. Try to even out your load from side to side, and if you're hauling something in a pickup or SUV, try to keep the heaviest items as close to the center of the vehicle as possible for optimal handling. And be sure you don't exceed your vehicle's payload limit.

Finally, Tip Number 7) In vehicles where passengers and cargo share the same space, such as SUVs and minivans, occupants are only separated from the cargo by a row of seats rather than a solid partition as in vehicles with trunks.

A sudden slam on the brakes is enough to cause the cargo to fly forward, and if this happens, there is a pretty good chance that someone - possibly children in the vehicle - will be seriously injured. So in station wagons, SUVs, and minivans, secure your cargo for safety.

If you have any questions on car safety, auto insurance or any other personal injury legal matter, please don't hesitate to email me at smurray@murrayguari.com, or call me at (561) 366-9099.

Thanks for watching, and safe driving!