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road trip safety tips

Road Trip Safety Tips

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I remember one of my first, big road trips without my parents or an adult chaperone. In 1988, my college roommate and I loaded our suitcases into a 1984 Ford Escort, armed ourselves with a handful of maps and left a small town in Oklahoma for a carefree drive to the beautiful beaches of Florida.

During this trip, we probably could have checked off every single item on a safe traveler’s list of what not to do. There were many lessons to be learned from our trip that can come in handy when traveling with your children. Consider this list of road trip safety tips.

Plan Your Route In Advance

Our parents provided us with a AAA card and detailed, type written directions provided to us by AAA as a service of being a member of their roadside assistance program. Both the directions and the card found a home beneath discarded trash from fast food restaurants and were not put to good use. Fortunately we kept the gas tank above empty and did not need the card.

We instead used our maps, not very well I might add, but we used them. We were guilty of driving down the interstate in Atlanta, Georgia during rush hour traffic with the map spread across the front of the windshield. This action provided both a safety hazard from blocking her field of vision and let everyone that passed us be aware that we were lost and vulnerable. A much better and safer option for us would have been to visit the concierge at Hilton Memphis before we started out the second day of travel and leave with a plan.


On this particular trip, I’m quite sure we were so proud of our journey that we shared with anyone who would listen every detail of our travel plans. Once again, we were fortunate that we didn’t return home to find all of our valuables missing.

During our 1988 road trip, social media was futuristic to say the least, today it is common practice to Facebook and Tweet about your adventures. Stay smart and make wise decisions regarding your communication. It’s nice to share your adventures, but you have to stay alert and conscious of your surroundings on the road, at home and in your online world.


I was the child that enjoyed exploring on my own which resulted in my parents being “lost” more than once. During this trip and to this day, I still use the system of having a point of contact that everyone in our travel group knows.

In 1988, my roommate and I did not have cell phones and many children don’t have them either. We decided that if we were separated that we would call my Dad, gently break it to him that the other one wandered off and provide him with a number to relay to the other when she phoned in.

I took this one step further when our son was small and had a small inexpensive charm engraved with our name, the hotel where we were staying as well as our phone number. He wore this as a necklace and was much better than when my husband decided to write his contact information on our son’s stomach just in case he needed it…he’s 11 now and that marker has almost worn off.

We hope all of the road trip safety tips above will help your family enjoy a safe memorable vacation and leave you looking forward to the next. Please share your best road trip safety tips in the comments below.

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Marti resides in rural northeastern Oklahoma where she works with corporate, association, and government clients as a meeting planner. She enjoys traveling, whenever possible, with her husband,…

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