As excited children across the country will surely tell you, summer is upon us. And, for many people, that means vacation travel--often by car. Hitting America's highways for a summer trip is a tradition as old as--well, as old as America's highways themselves.
Here at the Department of Transportation, we want to make sure that safety is part of that tradition.
To help you prepare for the summer driving season, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges motorists to take simple, yet necessary, precautions to ensure vehicles are in optimal driving condition and appropriately equipped prior to taking to the road. NHTSA also reminds drivers to avoid risky behaviors that could endanger all users of our roadways.
NHTSA's summer driving tips are available for download on the SaferCar.gov website. There, you will also find a terrific interactive version of these precautions, suitable for kids as well as adults.
And because this is National Tire Safety Week, I want to remind everyone that your vehicle's tires are critical to your safety.
Proper tire inflation is a must--for best traction and to avoid blowouts--so always use a tire gauge to check the pressure--a quick glance at your tires is not an accurate assessment.
You should also do the Penny Test to check your tread depth. You can do it with your kids, and it features my favorite President! Insert a penny into the tread, with Lincoln's head upside down and facing you. If the top of Lincoln's head is visible above the tire surface, your tread is less than 1/16 of an inch deep, and it's time to replace your tires.
Once your vehicle is road-ready, it's time to focus on driving and passenger safety. That means that everyone buckles up--every trip, every time. It also means making sure you have the right child safety seat for any kids traveling with you.
And when you're on the road, please remember these three important guidelines:
- Don't drink and drive.
- Don't drive distracted.
- Keep a sharp eye out for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
We are privileged to live in a nation rich in exciting, entertaining, and educational destinations. And we're fortunate to have a national highway network that can get us to those destinations. Taking fullest advantage of these resources requires taking a little time out for safety. And when you and your loved ones arrive safely back at home, those few moments you took for safety will seem well worth it.
So this summer, when you're packing the car, leave some room for NHTSA's summer driving tips. You'll be glad you did.