With school out and the summer officially upon us, millions of Americans will take to the road for trips this summer, even as gas prices continue to soar. This year especially, it’s important to take safety precautions before joining the masses of motorists on the Great American Road. A variety of factors, including the continuing risk of COVID-19 infection and issues related to inflation, may make this an especially risky summer vacation.

Although the current variants of COVID-19 result in less severe symptoms and a shorter duration for the most part, contracting the virus continues to present unique challenges. And with infection rates still high in many parts of the country, it’s a risk worth preparing for. Wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and following other public health guidelines are still important precautions. And because traveling involves being around many other people, increasing the risk of infection, it’s valuable to plan ahead for the possibility that you’ll contract the virus and need to miss work for a week after your return.

Completing a safety inspection on your vehicle is important before driving any significant distance. Unfortunately, as inflation drives the prices of everything up, Americans’ pocketbooks are unusually tight. That means you can expect that even if you have the inspection done on your vehicle, others on the road may have skipped the expense. That might increase the risk of driving, making it more even important to make sure you’re properly insured and prepared in the event that you’re in an accident.

As this blog post discusses, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provides no-fault coverage for your injuries—meaning it’s triggered regardless of whether you or someone else is to blame for the accident. Although it’s required in New York and most other states, there are various levels of PIP coverage. Increasing your PIP coverage this summer is a smart move, since many drivers are also lowering their liability limits as a cost-cutting measure. It’s also a good idea to increase your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and your own comprehensive and collision coverage. If you’re in an accident caused by someone with inadequate insurance, you’ll be glad you took the initiative to ensure your own coverage is available to cover the gaps.

Before taking to the road, it’s also a good idea to have the phone number of a highly qualified auto accident attorney handy. If you are in an accident, calling that attorney immediately can save valuable time, especially if you or someone in your car sustains a severe injury. By taking into account the numerous variables that can contribute to an accident, as well as applying knowledge of the law and the pressure of an attorney, a good lawyer can substantially increase the amount of money you receive.