Safety on Family Road Trips Can Save Lives

Family Road Trips are some of the most memorable times you'll have with your kids ... just make sure you do so safely!

Family road trips are some of the most memorable times you’ll have with your kids … just make sure you do so safely!

Family road trips should be a memorable experience – not just the vacation itself, but the journey getting there. Unfortunately, the open road isn’t the safest place, and a single mistake could result in a memory that haunts a family forever. Such was the case for the Razo family, whose road trip turned into a nightmare.

In early August, the Razo family made plans to visit an aunt in the San Antonio area. They left Dallas in two vehicles, but one of the vehicle’s broke down near Waco, Texas. This breakdown prompted the family to pile 12 passengers into a single GMC Yukon.

“All we heard was a tire pop on the back side of the passenger and I just remember I look at the mirror and I saw the tire peeling off,” Ruben Razo told reporters.

Unfortunately, Razo’s sister could not maintain control of the vehicle, and the SUV rolled several times.

Five children, between the ages of 2 and 12, were transported to nearby hospitals. Two sisters, aged 27 and 31, died at the scene. First responders reported that although the vehicle had seatbelts, no one chose to wear one, and none of the children had been placed in a car seat.

SAFETY FIRST; ALWAYS

In truth, this is an accident that could have been avoided, had the right precautions taken place. It’s important that families take time out to have fun (road tripping, visiting distant relatives, traveling to popular vacation destinations), but it’s also important that everyone stays safe.

Always buckle up. In many states, it’s illegal to drive without a seatbelt. Seatbelts save lives, and they protect children during accidents, so never forgo wearing a seatbelt.

Put children in a car seat. Car seats (and, booster seats) are designed to raise children to a level where a seatbelt can adequately protect them.

Get a tune-up. Before you hit the road, make sure your car is in working order. If your car does break down, do not pile into a car that can’t adequately transport all travelers.

Rest up before a big trip. Sometimes, accidents occur because people are tired. Do not be a sleepy driver because sleepy drivers are dangerous.

Be prepared for anything. Travel with an emergency kit. Also, don’t load too much on top of your vehicle, in case you have to make a sudden stop.

Watch your speed. Austin-Travis County EMS spokesman, Mark Karonika, told reporters that the Razo’s accident occurred on Highway 130 where the speed limit is 85 mph. That’s the highest speed limit in the nation. High speeds typically result in more serious accidents.

Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable. When an accident occurs, it’s important to follow safety precautions post-accident.

–  If anyone in your family suffers from a medical condition, such as allergies to medications, keep a notecard with you detailing that information.

–  Immediately check for injuries, and phone an ambulance when necessary.

–  Call the police; even if the accident wasn’t serious.

–  Consider the stress the accident may have had on your family. Mike Pines, a personal injury attorney in San Diego, CA, warns that post-traumatic stress disorder is a possibility after a serious accident.

–  Safety precautions should be taken every step of the way, including post-accident. It’s important that your children, as well as yourself, follow up with a doctor to determine if aftercare is necessary for both physical and mental injuries.

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