Road Trip Safety Tips for the Whole Family

May 2024

A family with three children going on a road trip in their vehicle

A road trip is the quintessential getaway.

Whether you’re cruising down a coastal highway in the summertime or heading into the mountains in search of some fresh powder, here are some road safety tips to keep the entire family safe.

Buckle Up

It can be tempting for passengers to unbuckle their seatbelts and stretch out for a nap during a long drive, but wearing a seatbelt reduces the chance of crash-related injuries and deaths by half.1 

Heading on a cross-country road trip? Depending on the states you pass through, you can be ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt—which could affect your insurance rates depending on how your carrier assesses your driver history.

And yes, seatbelt safety includes your pooch. There is no federal law requiring pets to be restrained in vehicles, but it’s still a good precaution to take. Hitting the brakes, sharp turns, and other bumps in the road can easily throw an unrestrained dog off-balance, potentially risking injury. Consider obtaining a pet harness that clips into your car’s seatbelt mechanism—regular seatbelts are designed for humans, not our furry best friends.

Take Time to Rest

Stop and smell the roses, as they say.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has estimated that 16% to 21% of all police-reported fatal vehicle crashes are likely to involve drowsy driving2, so it’s important that drivers get enough sleep and ideally share driving responsibilities to avoid highway fatigue. Map out your route, and make sure you know where you can pull off the road to get some needed rest.

Make Sure Your Vehicle is Up To the Task

A fun road trip can easily become frustrating if you find yourself stuck on the side of the highway. Here are a few ways you can prepare your car, truck, or SUV for the drive:

  • Inspect tire treads and pressure
  • Check and refill fluid levels (oil, coolant, windshield washer fluid)
  • Make sure interior and exterior lights are working
  • Test brakes

Plus, don’t let minor inconveniences ruin your vacation. A little planning ahead will get you back on the road in no time. Here are a few ideas:

  • Carry jumper cables
  • Have a spare tire on hand—and know how to change a flat tire
  • Plot out fueling or charging stations along your route
  • Stock up on emergency roadside items, like a flashlight, car jack and mat, basic repair tools, first aid kit, water, and nonperishable snacks

An older man checks his vehicle's oil and fluid levels under the hood

Know Your Auto Insurance Policy

Be aware of your current coverage and make sure to ask your carrier any questions you have before embarking on a road trip.

For example, if you’re planning to share driving responsibilities, you’ll want to make sure your policy provides coverage for nonowners or codrivers operating your vehicle. If you decide to use a rental vehicle for your road trip, check to see if your policy will cover claims that occur while driving it.

Roadside assistance coverage is also an option to ask about. The Mutual of Enumclaw Member’s Best bundle includes complimentary towing and roadside services—it’s a lifeline in the event you break down on the road during a trip or even on your daily commute. (Another pro tip: With our mobile app, you can contact towing and roadside services, view your policy information, file a claim, and much more—all on the go.)

If you have any questions about auto insurance coverage or need claims assistance, Mutual of Enumclaw is here to help you navigate your policy and provide award-winning service. 



The information we share on our site is intended to serve as a general overview. Please refer to your policy or contact your local independent agent for specific coverage details.

Sources: 1. U.S. Department of Transportation, "Seat Belt Laws," 2015. | 2. AAA Foundation, "Countermeasures to Reduce Drowsy Driving: Results of a Literature Review and Discussions with Experts,” 2022.


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