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Hitting the Road

With millions of people starting the summer season by taking a road trip, the AAA recommends keeping these travel tips in mind:

  • Buckle up for safety -- and to avoid that ticket. "Buckle up and make sure that kids are properly secured in child safety seats," says McNaull. "These simple steps greatly increase your odds of surviving and reducing injuries if a crash happens." You can also avoid getting a ticket.
  • Get a good night's sleep. "Drowsy drivers can be as dangerous as drunk drivers, committing many of the same mistakes behind the wheel," says McNaull, who was a police officer with the Arlington County police department in Virginia for six years. "Be sure to get a good night's sleep before you take a long road trip."

    And don't think that a cup of coffee or open windows will substitute for sleep.

    "If you feel yourself getting drowsy, take a break," says McNaull. "Getting out of the car for some exercise or a caffeinated drink can buy you a couple minutes of alertness, but are not substitutes for sleep."

  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Do a pre-road trip checkup. "Taking 10 minutes to ensure that your car's tires are properly inflated, that the fluids are topped off, and everything under the hood looks all right, can identify problems that could lead to breakdowns during your trip," says McNaull. "Breakdowns can put a damper on your vacation schedule and budget, plus leave you stuck on the side of the road -- a potentially dangerous place to be."

Summer Safety for Kids

For kids, parents need to keep a few essentials in mind for the summer, starting with SPF.

"For summer safety, you need to avoid sunburn and use good sun protection," says Jeffrey Weiss, MD, head of general pediatrics at Phoenix Children's Hospital in Arizona. "I think for most kids, the recommendation is at least SPF 25."

Another tip for the summer is to make sure your kids are properly buckled up.

"Parents should be reminded to put their kids in appropriate car seats," says Weiss, who is also a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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