Make your summer travels safer and smoother
PHILADELPHIA - June 28, 2010 (WPVI) -- Action News has a tragic illustration of what can happen if you aren't careful about how you ready the family car for a road trip.
It's information for anyone planning a getaway for this 4th of July weekend.
Packing your car seems like a simple task. But, unfortunately, many families accidentally do it in a way that can put them at risk, which means their road trips could end with disaster or even death.
A computer laptop left unsecured is what most likely killed Heather Storey. Her car was hit by a tow truck last year - and her laptop turned into a deadly projectile, hitting her in the head and neck.
"It's been hard since she's been gone," Marilyn Storey, Heather's mother, told Action News. "We really miss her."
Heather's tragic death illustrates it is critical you secure any loose objects while in the car.
"In a crash, just imagine something... being thrown at you at 30 miles an hour. It's going to really hurt or could be fatal," said David Champion of Consumer Reports.
Here are some recommendations on how to pack safely:
Anything heavy that might become a projectile in a car should be actually stowed underneath or strapped down. With heavy objects, you need to put them as far forward as you can and then strap them down.
Once items are secured, place softer objects on top. And avoid packing anything on the roof of an SUV. "SUVs have a higher center of gravity than a sedan," according to Champion. "If you load anything on the roof of an SUV, you actually raise the center of gravity higher, making it more likely to roll over in a crash."
Also check how much weight your vehicle can carry safely. That information should be in your owner's manual or on a sticker inside the front door. For example, a Honda Element isn't supposed to carry more than 675 pounds. "You take three buddies fishing, you better not catch anything because that 675 pounds is likely to be just the four adults," according to Champion.
Consumer Reports says once you're done packing, do a test right in your driveway. Start up slowly then hit the brakes suddenly to see if anything shifts.
When it comes to pets, two million animals travel on airplanes every year in the U.S.
"If you want to take your pet on the plane, keep in mind that most airlines allow only a few pets on board," said Amanda Walker of Consumer Reports Shopsmart. "So check ahead of time to make sure there's room for your Fluffy or Fido."
Also find out if you need a health certificate from a vet and check whether the airline allows pets in the cabin or as checked baggage only. Airlines will only fly pets older than eight weeks or that don't need medical attention.
"If you're taking your pet as checked baggage, you should also see if you need an acclimation certificate from your vet," Walker said. "That's to certify that your pet can handle temperature changes."
You should also make sure your pet has an ID tag in case it gets lost, and you should attach a card to the pet carrier. The label should have your name, phone number, address, and a recent pet photo.
Prices for pet travel vary: Air Tran charges $69 one-way for pets traveling in the cabin; US Airways charges $100 each way; Continental, Delta, and United charge $125.
When you arrive at the airport, it can help smooth the check-in process if you print out the airline's pet requirements from the website to bring with you. If you're carrying your pet onto a flight, realize that your pet counts toward your carry-on baggage allowance. If your pet is traveling as cargo, ask the flight attendant to monitor the temperature in the pet-storage area. That'll help ensure your pet's safety.
For more information: http://www2.usairways.com/en-US/traveltools/specialneeds/pets.html
holidays, travel, safety, automobiles, animals, air travel, special reports, nydia han
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