By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The summer vacation season will soon be in full swing, and for many Americans, that will mean road trips.

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The summer months are when the rubber really hits the road. So the National Highway Traffic Safety administration has some advice before your family takes off on a trip.

First, be sure to give tires a check for proper inflation and tread wear – ideally, it’s something that should happen once a month year-round. Bad tires can lead to flats and blowouts; well-maintained tires can boost fuel mileage, saving money.

Take some time to double-check that car seats and booster seats are properly installed, especially when heading out on a long road trip. A certified technician at a local car seat inspection station can check that – usually free of charge.

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Children should never be left alone in the car, even if the windows are partially open. Leaving children in hot cars during the summer months can lead to heatstroke or – in the worst cases – death. And since summer can also change the day care drop-off routine for parents, always check the back seats to be sure that no-one has been left behind.

Finally, NHTSA also reminds drivers about the perils of driving after drinking. According to their statistics, drunk driving fatalities spike around the summer holidays.

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