One of the great American traditions in the summer is the road trip. The days get longer. School is no longer in session. It is a good time to visit family and many tourist attractions without having to worry about snow or conflicting school schedules. However, the driver should make sure that the family gets to the destination safely. Also, it is a good idea to make sure that everyone in the car remains healthy as well with drinks and snacks that are beneficial to health.

The most important responsibility of the driver is to make sure everyone gets to the destination and back safely. This means practicing safe driving habits. First of all, it is important to make sure the eyes are on the road at all times with the exception of lane changes. It is not safe to turn the head to talk to someone. A car can travel a substantial distance in the two or three seconds that the head is turned away from the road. That is plenty of time for a collision. The only time it is ok to turn the head is to check the blind spot before making a lane change.

At the same time, the driver also needs to make use of all three mirrors available in the car. Look for cars that are coming up on the left, right, and rear while keeping the eyes on the road in front. Try not to have another vehicle stay in the blind spot for an extended period of time. It's not necessary to turn the head completely while looking at any of the three mirrors. A slight turn of the head along with peripheral vision will do in most cases.

The rear view mirror can also be used as a convenient and safe way to check on the kids sitting in the back. It is not necessary to turn the head around to check on the kids. Just look at them using the rear-view mirror to make sure they are not misbehaving. Kids will realize very fast that the driver talking to the rear-view mirror is the equivalent to making eye contact.

Tailgating another car greatly increases the risk of getting into an accident. It is best to maintain a minimum safe distance (MSD) to the car that is in front. The MSD between two cars traveling at the speed limit on a freeway is three seconds. When the car in front passes a freeway sign, count how many seconds before you reach the sign. If it is less than three seconds, it is time to create more room between you and the car in front.

Finally, do not get distracted by using a cell phone while driving. It is illegal in many states to use a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device. It is also very dangerous to attempt to text while driving. Neither of these activities promote safety. They could lead to a traffic ticket or even an accident.

Although safe driving is very important while on a road trip, it is also a good idea for everyone in the car to be eating healthy as well. Kids will want to eat sweets such as potato chips, candy bars, and cookies. None of those things are good for children, so it's best not to have any of those snacks in the car. It's better to prepare snacks beforehand with more nutritious options. Healthy foods such as bananas, carrots, celery, and apples can be sliced in advance and put in plastic bags to avoid a mess while eating. Another option is an energy bar which contains 20 grams of protein as well as 25 grams of carbohydrates. A great advantage of an energy bar is that it has only 5 grams of fat with just 300 calories total.

As far as drinks, drink  juices that don't contain sugar additives provide energy as well as vitamins and minerals. It's also important to stay hydrated with water. Water keeps everyone focused and alert. This is especially important for the driver who needs to be focused on the road at all times.

Finally, a road trip is supposed to be fun. Make sure everyone including the kids is entertained with music, games, and electronic gadgets. The road trip is also a good time to get into fun conversations with the entire family. Remember that the experience of the road trip help families bond more closely together with lots of life-long memories.