Mt. Juliet and Lebanon TN
As the days turn longer and warmer, hearts and minds tend to start traveling to bright, sunny places — waves crashing ashore, toes in the sand, drink in hand. Family vacations are those rare times when we can slow down, live in the moment and make priceless memories with our families. But most vacations start with a road trip to get there. To make sure you arrive at your destination safely, our Nashville-area family attorney Yancey Belcher is sharing the following safe-driving tips:
Be sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. If you can’t conduct a mechanical tune-up yourself, make an appointment with a mechanic to check all your vehicle’s fluids, tires, safety features, lights and signals. Be sure the vehicle has a spare tire onboard, and all the necessary tools, in the event of a flat tire along the way. Closer to the time of travel, map your route and check the weather for the day(s) of the trip, and plan accordingly.
Pack snacks and water
No one wants to think about worst-case scenarios like breaking down and being stranded — and hungry or thirsty — somewhere, so let’s think on the bright side instead: if you pack enough snacks and water to cover each person in the vehicle for 2-3 days, then you won’t hear “I’m hungry! Can we stop for a snack?” from the back of the vehicle a hundred times while en route to your destination. Include healthy snacks: nuts, whole grain crackers, fruits and veggies. Sometimes, distances between stops can seem to stretch for miles. Packing snacks and water for the trip will help save your sanity — and everyone’s hungry bellies — during those times.
Safety should always come first, and every trip starts with buckling up for the ride. Know Tennessee’s child restraint law.
If you need a quick refresher, here it is:
- Children under 12 months old, or any child weighing 20 pounds or less, must be secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system in a rear seat, if available. (Some systems have a higher weight rating; for specific information, check all manufacturer instructions accompanying the safety seat.)
- Children 1-3 years of age and weighing more than 20 pounds must be secured in a forward-facing child safety seat in the rear seat, if available.
- Children 4-8 years old and less than 4’9” tall must be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat system in the rear seat, if available. (If the child is not 4-8 years old but is shorter than 4’9” tall, s/he must still use a seat belt system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.)
- Children aged 9-12, or any child through 12 years of age measuring 4’9” or taller, must be secured in a seat belt system. It is recommended the child be placed in a rear seat, if available. (If the child is not between 9 and 12 but is 4’9” or taller, s/he must still use a seat belt system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.)
- Children aged 13-15 must wear seatbelts.
- If a child requires medically prescribed modified child restraints, carry a doctor’s prescription in the vehicle at all times.
Take breaks along the way
Stopping every couple of hours to stretch and move around will give everyone a break from potentially hours of sitting still, and it will help the driver of the vehicle stay awake and alert. Stopping will also allow the driver to check and return any missed calls and messages …
Don’t drive distracted
It should go without saying that drivers should not operate a vehicle while distracted. This, of course, includes not reading texts or messages while driving. The lives of an entire family are in the driver’s hands, and each family member is trusting the driver to safely deliver him/her to and from vacation.
Share the road
Warmer weather also means that more pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists will be on the road. Pedestrians have the right-of-way. Motorcycles and bicycles have the same rights to the road as any other vehicle, but they’re smaller and, therefore, more difficult to see. Once on the road with a bike of any kind, increase your following distance to give them adequate space.
Nashville area, including Hermitage and Mt. Juliet, TN
Vacation is a time of anticipation and excitement. Sometimes, it’s something we’ve looked forward to for an entire year! Be sure to start it off on the right foot by readying yourself and your vehicle for the journey. We want you and your family to make it to your destination, enjoy your time together then make it safely back home. If you and/or your family are the victim of someone else’s negligence on the road, please call our Mt. Juliet personal injury attorney, Yancy Belcher, right away at (615) 773-2889, or contact us online.