101 Critical Days of Summer - timely tips help ensure travel and camping safety

  • Published
  • By Eddie Fletcher
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Ground Safety
Ah, it's summertime again, which for many is a time for vacations. Two popular vacation options - travel by car and camping - are a great way to unwind and spend time with family and friends.

Below are several tips to ensure a safe and memorable vacation.

Travel by car:
  • Have your vehicle checked before getting out on the highway. Simple maintenance can ensure you don't break down or have other mechanical troubles while driving.
  • Have tools and water in the car in case of an emergency.
  • Avoid prolonged driving. A fatigued driver is more accident prone.
  • Be aware of the effects of prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Some drugs may make you feel sleepy and impede your driving ability.
  • Stop periodically for rest and light exercise or have a co-driver take turns driving if necessary.
  • Allow plenty of time for the trip so that you do not have to rush to your destination.
  • Plan your trip so that you arrive at your campsite with enough daylight left to check over the entire site and set up camp.
  • Look for a site that has trees or shrubs on the side of the prevailing winds. This will help block the wind if it should gust or get strong.
  • Be sure to check the site thoroughly for glass or other sharp objects, branches that hang low or could fall, poison ivy, bees, ants or other dangerous elements.
  • Check the contour of the land. Make sure the site is level with enough room to spread out all of your camping gear. Look for potential trouble if it rains, such as areas that could flood or become extremely muddy.
Fire is of prime concern at the campsite. Be sure:
  • You have a fire area that cannot spread laterally or vertically
  • Whenever a fire is lit someone is assigned to watch the fire at all times
  • Plenty of water is kept nearby
  • When you put the fire out you use water and soil and be certain the fire is completely out and cool to the touch. Embers buried within the pile of ashes have a tendency to reignite later.
  • The fire is kept to an absolute minimum.
  • Dispose of all trash properly and don't forget your good recycling habits while on vacation. They are just as important while camping as they are at home.
  • Return the campsite to its original condition for the next camper.
  • Car games, sing-a-longs, campfires and roasting marshmallows are the memories you'll cherish for the rest of your life. Cut these tips out and keep them handy - we want your vacation to be safe and memorable!