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Summertime Tips for Safe Driving

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For many of us, our summer calendars are filled with weddings, graduations, vacations and weekend getaways. Traveling to these engagements often requires a significant amount of time behind the wheel. Whether it's a weekend trip, a lengthy vacation, or even if you're simply following your normal everyday driving routine, the California Office of Traffic Safety has developed the following guidelines for drivers to help make every trip a safe one:

Plan Your Trip

• Plan, map and estimate the distance ahead of time and let others know your plans
• Check road conditions, including possible road closures. You can visit www.dot.ca.gov for real time highway conditions

Prepare Your Vehicle

• Check the tires, including the spare, to ensure they're properly inflated
• Inspect the engine, battery, hoses, belts and fluids for wear and adequate levels
• Check that the air conditioning is working properly
• Test all the lights, wipers and clean the windows (inside and out)
• Consider a quick inspection by a qualified technician. A few dollars up front can mean peace of mind and safe arrivals, as well as no costly on-the-road repairs and trip interruptions
• Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit. For a complete list of what to include, visit www.ots.ca.gov/roadsideemergencykit.asp

Safety First and Always

• Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Remember: Click It or Ticket
• If you have a flat tire, engine problems or a fender bender, drive out of traffic lanes and off the highway if possible – freeway shoulders are not safe for repair work
• Always plan ahead; use a Designated Sober Driver if you plan on drinking
• If you see suspected drunk drivers, it is legal and encouraged for you to call 911

Buckle Up Drivers & Passengers

• Parents and caregivers need to use the correct seat for young passengers and be sure the seat is installed properly. NHTSA and the Office of Traffic Safety recommend keeping infants, toddlers and older children in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer's height and weight requirements. Visit www.ots.ca.gov/Child_Passenger_Safety.asp for assistance with proper car seat installation in advance of your trip
• Remember that long trips can be particularly tough on your children, especially in the heat – pack plenty of snacks and cold drinks for the road
• Use books, toys, DVDs and video games to keep children occupied so the driver can stay focused
• Keep children 12 and under in the back seat – it's the safest place
• Stopping along the drive gives everyone a chance to stretch and makes the trip easier. If you have a fussy baby, do not take them out of their car seat while driving to soothe or provide a bottle. If your child needs that level of attention, pull over in a safe place, such as a rest stop
• Older children need to ride in a booster seat from about age four until a seat belt fits them correctly. Be sure to try the 5-Step Test at http://www.carseat.org/Boosters/630.htm before graduating from a booster to a seat belt

Focus on the Road

• Don't text or talk on your cell phone while driving – even hands-free. If you need to use your phone, wait until you stop in safe place, such as a rest stop or parking lot
• Don't program your mobile GPS while you are driving. Either have a passenger do it or stop in a safe place
• Share driving duties with other passengers to avoid fatigue
• Rest – driving while drowsy can be fatal. Even a 30 minute nap can help
• Stop for food or beverages. Avoid eating while driving
• Don't drive aggressively

Never Leave a Child Alone In a Car – Not Even for a Minute

• Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open. An outside temperature of 101 degrees can easily result in an interior temperature of 140 degrees
• If you see a child unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble
• Place your cell phone, purse or other important items needed at your next stop on the floor in front of a child in the backseat. This triggers adults to see children when they open the rear door and reach for their belongings
• Set your cell phone or Outlook reminder to be sure you dropped your child off at day care. Have a plan that if your child is late for daycare, you will be called within a few minutes
• Always lock your car and ensure that children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices

By planning ahead and following these tips, you can ensure that every summer trip, long or short, is a safe one. For additional safe driving tips and information, please visit the OTS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS or follow OTS on Twitter @OTS_CA. For more information on all OTS effort, visit www.ots.ca.gov.

CONTACT: Chris Cochran (916) 509-3063 chris.cochran@ots.ca.govSource:California Office of Traffic Safety