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Road trip time? Here’s how to stay safe on your adventure

By Tim Bemis | Insurance services regional manager at Dupaco Insurance Services

It’s road-trip season!

But before you take your next adventure, be prepared.

Road-trip safety starts prior to leaving home.

Know your road-trip route

GPS is great, but don’t rely solely on it. Use Google Street View to first take a virtual road trip and get familiar with the exits and interchanges you’ll be using. Having just a little familiarity with these areas can be invaluable in heavier city traffic.

You’ll also want to pack some old-fashioned paper maps. Not all destinations have cell phone service.

Plan for safety breaks—scope out some interesting shops or diners—along your route to avoid fatigue.

Here’s why: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Know your vehicle

Given all the vehicle recalls, check with your dealership or to make sure your vehicle isn’t on the list. If it is, get it repaired before you leave, and make sure your vehicle maintenance is up to date.

Roadside car trouble is a quick way to dampen travelers’ spirits!

When loading your vehicle, pack securely to prevent loose objects from catapulting in the event of a hard brake or crash. And make sure your vehicle has an emergency road kit that includes:

  • Signaling devices
  • First-aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Hand-crank flashlight
  • Water
  • Medications
  • Snacks
  • Warm clothes or a blanket

Know your riders

Children can be 12 times more distracting to drivers than talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel. Twelve times! If you’re a parent, you probably didn’t need the Australian study of family driving habits to tell you that.

Have snacks and entertainment lined up before the trip. While I’m dating myself, travel bingo was a big game in our family, as was the license plate game. For the techier families, set up movies on a tablet or portable DVD player before you leave.

Most importantly, keep your children secure in their seats!

Know your insurance

Call your insurance agent, and review your coverage to eliminate surprises on the road. Know the answers to these questions:

  • If you’re involved in a crash, do you have trip continuation and/or rental car coverage on your policy?
  • If you have roadside assistance and towing on your insurance policy, do you know the emergency number to call?

Also, make sure your most recent insurance ID cards are in your glove compartment.

Know your Shared Branch locations

No matter where you go, you can stay connected to Dupaco through the CO-OP Shared Branch network.

This cooperative endeavor gives you fee-free, face-to-face access and service at more than 5,600 participating branches and more than 2,000 self-service locations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and military bases worldwide.

While you’re away, you can use Dupaco’s mobile app to point you to your nearest Shared Branch.

Know which ATMs to use

Avoid surcharges at more than 30,000 ATMs across the country. Dupaco has cooperatively joined hundreds of financial institutions as part of the Privileged Status and CO-OP ATM networks.

This allows you to use your Dupaco MoneyCard in the ATMs of other participating financial institutions.

Simply look for Privileged Status and CO-OP ATM logos, or use the ATM locator within Dupaco’s mobile app or website.

Know your credit and debit cards

Always check the expiration dates on your debit and credit cards to make sure they won’t expire while you’re away.

If possible, notify your credit card companies of your upcoming trip a few days in advance.

You can call the number on the back of your cards and give them an idea of your travel plan so your cards aren’t shut down, especially if you’re traveling out of state. You’ll also want to make sure they have an updated cell phone number to contact you.

Pro tip: Within Shine Online and Mobile Banking, you can notify Dupaco of your travel plans. Simply go to Account Safety, then Travel Notice. Let us know of your travel plans to prevent fraud protection services from blocking use of your Dupaco debit and credit cards.

How to notify Dupaco when you're traveling

Whether you’re on the road or at home, it’s important to make—and securely store—copies of everything you carry in your wallet in case it’s lost or stolen. Keep a list of your cards’ 800 numbers with you in case you need to cancel a stolen or lost card while you’re traveling.

Pro tip: You also can enable and disable your Dupaco debit and credit cards within Shine Mobile Banking.

Know your adventure

Remember, it’s a road trip. It’s supposed to be fun.

Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. And enjoy the ride!