Safe driving practices for Fourth of July travel

At CoolRidesOnline, we like to provide you with not only great feature content about classic cars, but also stories that you can use to keep you and your family safe during stressful holiday travel situations. Last Memorial Day, we detailed how you can prepare an emergency travel kit for any holiday, but we didn't quite cover the best practices for navigating four lanes of dense highway traffic and edgy drivers.

This Fourth of July, the major national car assistance provider AAA projects 42.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from their home for the holiday. This represents a roughly 5 percent increase from last year, and a 24 percent jump from Memorial Day's figures.

To manage the crowded highways – and the pressures they cause – more effectively, follow these tips below:

1) Inspect your vehicle before traveling: While Fourth of July won't bring any snow and ice, hot weather comes with its own set of challenges. Each summer, about 7 million cars breakdown on a roadway due to reduced battery strength, engine overheating and other emergencies. For maximum safety, inspect your car before you hit the road, even if it was recently checked by a professional.

2) Ensure proper safety inside your vehicle: We all know what kind of distractions can happen when the family gets together for the holiday. And while moments of singing, laughing and arguing are all part of a family road trip, they shouldn't prohibit drivers from making sure every passenger is secure and comfortable. To avert a potentially distracting situation, make sure you're packed with all the essentials. This includes adequate directions, food and water and enough games or books for any children coming for the ride.

3) Stay alert and ready when driving: Make sure to plan plenty of breaks if you're taking a long drive. Almost half of all vehicle crashes happen with a single car or truck, meaning many times drivers simply forget that, like any mechanical part of the vehicle, they too need monitoring and care.