Who remember's the long car rides to your great aunts house or to some vacation spot that your parent(s) carefully picked out?

Car travel with family can be a great chance to bond and spend a lot of quality time together, and let's face it, with jobs, school, sports, and other commitments, we are often left with a couple hours left in the average day to eat, say Hi, and go to sleep. Which is why it so important to take some time to just "be" with your family. Even if it's a short weekend car trip.

Preparing for a trip isn't easy...packing the suitcases, laundry, trying to keep the peace in the back seat while the kids ignore your every word. Aside from the normal road trip hardships, let's talk safety. I think we can all agree that we get so wrapped up in the destination that we might not always put much thought toward safety precautions just in case the "what if" happens. Whether you're traveling during the summer or the cold winter, preparing for the conditions can save your life and the life of your family. Here are some tips on how to travel safe and enjoy the ride. 

Plan your driving route
Before you take off into the sunset, plan your route, alternate routes, and for any road construction that may be happening. It also helps to make sure that there are places to make pit stops just in case of an emergency or just to stretch your legs.

Sometimes we cannot always depend on our GPS, so be sure to pack a map and send your itinerary/road map to a friend or family member. Having another person looking out for you while you’re on the road with your family is the responsible thing to do. If something were to happen to you, they’d be able to alert the proper authorities.

Make sure your vehicle is in working order
Try taking your car in to have everything checked out. Have your mechanic top off your fluids, check your tires, and head/tail lights. 

For an extra layer of security, pack an emergency kit that includes a spare tire, tire iron, and battery jumpers in the event of a breakdown or accident. You may also want to invest in a portable phone charger. 

*If traveling in a snow storm and your car happens to get stuck in the snow, DO NOT run your heater. Carbon monoxide can trap itself in the car and lead to death. If you DO in fact need to run the heater, make sure that a window is open in the direction the wind is blowing. 

Take breaks along the way
Despite the schedule you may have, the destination is never worth endangering your life and the life of your family. If you feel as though you're getting sleepy, either pull over or bite the bullet and get a room for the night.  

If there are two adults in the car, take turns driving. This will help split the load and offer the other person some well needed rest. 

Pack food and water
This is a given but try packing a little more than usual. There have been cases where motorists have survived solely on the food and water they packed. Non perishable foods are best. If you notice your supplies are getting low, replenish them along the way. The road is a long one and it's important to prepare for the worst.