Road Trip Safety Tips

Even when traveling close to home, it pays to be prepared and protected.

DENVER, CO, August 1, 2008 - With every season there seems to be a new batch of buzzwords. With the rising cost of gas and everything else these days, the latest trend for traveling close to home is "stayvation", for those who want to get away without feeling pain in their pocketbook. Even if you're taking a long weekend locally, you still need to take precautions. Knowing the details of your auto insurance and home insurance-while preparing both your car and abode properly-will enable you to enjoy your time away.

Road Safety Tips

You've got the time off and you're heading out on a summer road trip. While you're packing the sunscreen and bug repellent, NetQuote offers these road safety tips to help get you to your destination safely.

  • Check Your Car Battery - During the summer months, AAA reports that the most roadside assistance calls they receive are due to dead batteries. To avoid this happening to you, make sure your battery cables have a clean and tight connection to the battery terminals and the fluid levels are correct.
  • Watch Out for Animals - If you're traveling through the mountains, keep your eye out for signs indicating animal crossings. Animals are most active during the early morning and at dusk, and often leap out of trees and bush near the side of the road.
  • Check Your Tires - Severe accidents can be caused by tire blowouts, but they can be avoided. Using the quarter test by placing the coin into several tread grooves of each tire. If Washington's head is covered by the tread, you're good to go. If not, you'll want to check into your local tire store to see about a replacement. Extra tip: keeping your tires properly inflated will also keep your gas mileage at a premium. The EPA estimates that with every 2 PSI of air in your tire under the maximum level you lose 1% of your fuel efficiency. That can add up to extra gallons burned and hundreds of dollars lost at the pump every year.
  • Emergency Roadside Kit - You can purchase a pre-assembled emergency roadside kit for between $35 to $40 dollars or just put one together yourself. Some of the basic items include:
    • 12-foot jumper cables
    • Four 15-minute roadside flares
    • Two quarts of oil
    • Gallon of antifreeze
    • First aid kit
    • Blanket
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Tool kit with screwdrivers, pliers, vice grips and wrench
    • Tire inflator such as a Fix-A-Flat)
    • Tire pressure gauge
    • Roll of paper towels
    • Spray bottle with washer fluid
    • Bottled water and snacks like protein bars, nuts)
  • Insurance Paperwork - Along with the iPod and map of your destination, it pays to have all your insurance paperwork with you in case of an accident. This includes your insurance ID card, the phone number of your agent and the number for reporting accidents.

In the Event of an Accident

Even with all the preparation, car accidents can happen that are out of your control, such as an animal jumping out in front of your car. Or you could get caught in a hail storm that does damage to your car. Knowing what to do and having all the information at your finger tips will enable you to salvage your vacation and keep your stress level down.

  • When an accident happens:
    • Check to make sure everyone is okay, including the people in the other vehicle.
    • Do not admit fault.
    • If the accident is more than a fender bender and people are injured, contact the local authorities.
    • Ask the investigating officer how to obtain a copy of the police report.
    • Record the name, address and phone number of the other driver.
    • Collect the names, addresses and phone numbers of all passengers and witnesses.
    • Use that insurance paperwork to notify your insurance agent or insurance company immediately.
    • Use your cell phone or digital camera to take photos of the accident scene.
    • If the accident involves hitting an animal, there should be no legal consequences unless you were speeding. Even if you have no damage to your car, it's best to notify the local State Patrol to report the incident.

Protecting Your Home from Break-ins

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are more than 2.15 million burglaries every year, and 65 percent of those are home break-ins that take place during the summer months of July and August. This has a definite impact on homeowners insurance claims.

These tips will help safeguard and protect your home from being another home break-in statistic:

  • Timing Lights - When it looks like someone is still home, that is one of the best deterrents to home break-ins. Using timers for your lights will enable you to do this.
  • Mail Pick Up - This is something that may not be needed for a weekend trip away, but if you're going to be gone for a week or more, it pays to have your mail held at the post office until you return. If you have the newspaper delivered, have this picked up by a neighbor as well.
  • Secure Your Home - The homes that burglars target are those that enable them to get in and out quickly and without incident. Having deadbolt locks may not be enough to keep them from breaking into your home. An active home alarm system that sounds loudly while notifying authorities of a break in will definitely scare way potential thieves. Having doors that lead into the house, including the garage door, that are at least 1 ¾ inches thick and a strong door frame will also make it time consuming for thieves to break into your home. The bonus is, when you take these types of precautions, you can often receive discounts on your home insurance premium.

Preparing for your "stayvation" while using road trip safety tips will enable you to enjoy your time away and return home safe and sound. Having all the facts about your auto insurance and home insurance will enable you to get out on the road with ease.

See how much you could save today on your homeowners insurance. Get your free auto insurance or home insurance quotes today!