Family road trips are a proud American tradition. For generations, parents have piled their children into their vehicles and headed off to beaches, campgrounds and amusement parks. Whatever the destination, the drive there is always half the fun.
However, the time spent on the road as a family also involves some risk for everyone in the vehicle. A family road trip could potentially lead to a collision, especially if the parents driving the family fail to proactively address the three risk factors detailed below.
1. Child-related distraction
Parents underestimate how distracting their progeny will be for them as they operate a motor vehicle. Even in the best of circumstances, children increase a parent’s likelihood of causing a crash. On a road trip, where children may be impatient and wearing on their parents’ nerves, they may make it very difficult for the adults in the vehicle to focus on getting everyone where they need to be safely.
2. Unfamiliar roads
There are several ways in which traveling in new areas poses a risk to people. Drivers may rely on GPS devices and could therefore make mistakes while driving. They may also end up distracted by the navigation systems or confused by unfamiliar streets, which might lead to a crash. Especially when on surface streets, travel in unfamiliar areas could potentially lead to major collisions.
3. Fatigue that impacts driving
It can be difficult to get a good night of sleep the day before leaving on a road trip, which may mean that the parent at the wheel is very bleary-eyed on their way toward their vacation. Even if someone doesn’t get anxious before leaving for a trip, the demands of parenting while on vacation will likely mean parents feel exhausted by the time that they are on the way home. Especially if there hasn’t been enough time for a full night of sleep or if the hotel bed provided sleep that was less than restful, the exhaustion someone feels could potentially impair their driving ability.
For the most part, family road trips can be fun adventures that everyone will look back on happily. Identifying and avoiding risk factors on a family road trip can help concerned parents avoid motor vehicle collisions that would dull the shine on any vacation’s memories.