Summertime is one the most popular season for road trips. Kids and college students are out of school, the weather is warm, and the days are longer. It only makes sense that families and friend groups start planning out their big summer trips. While road trips are fun to plan, there are certain precautions you should take to help make your summer trip safe as well as fun.
Tune-up – It is always wise to have your car checked out by your mechanic right before a long road trip. Let them know about your plans so that they can be extra attentive to what your car might need. This can help give you a heads up on something that might be an issue and can prevent you from getting stuck on the side of the road.
Battery – Most car batteries have a three to five year life span, so knowing exactly how old your battery is is important. If you’re not sure about your battery life, take your car into your mechanic to have a diagnostic run on it. They should be able to tell you how well your battery holds charge, and this can give you peace of mind leaving on a trip.
Tires – Driving with tires that are low on tread is very dangerous and should not be risked, especially when you are embarking on a long summer road trip. You should pay especially close attention to your front tires. If you notice any balding, bulging, or low tread depth, you will want to get new tires put on before departing.
Aside from preparing your vehicle mechanically, there are several things you will want to have in your car incase of an emergency. Don’t find yourself stuck without some of these key items.
Jumper Cables – Having a dead battery is bad enough, but having no way to fix it is way worse. Instead of hoping you come across a kind soul that also has jumper cables, be prepared with some yourself. You can also purchase a jump box so that you don’t even have to worry about flagging down a stranger to help. Having a jump box is the safest and fastest way to get you back on the road.
FlashLight – You never know when something might happen, night or day. Especially if you are planning to do much of your driving at night time, you want to have a high powered flashlight and extra batteries on hand.
Road Reflectors – If you find yourself in a situation where you are stuck on the side of the road, you will want to set out either road flares, cones, or road reflectors. This will help warn other drivers that you are stopped, minimizing the chances of an accident.
Tire Changing Tools – If for some reason you do not have these already, definitely obtain them before leaving for your trip. You need to have a jack, lug wrench, and a spare tire. If you haven’t checked recently, be sure that your spare tire is at the desired air pressure and does not have any leaks. in addition to these tire changing tools, you will always want to have a tire pressure gage. If you do not know what pressure your tires should be at, it should be on a label that is probably on the inside of the driver side door.
A Prepared Driver – Just like you need to outfit your vehicle for the trip, there are many ways to prepare yourself as well. In addition to looking fly, a solid pair of sunglasses should be kept in the car for the driver to wear during these bright summer day trips. The driver should be wearing proper footwear to ensure control of the vehicle at all times (no flip flops, no high heels). And while fun is always encouraged, be sure the driver is focused on the road ensuring everyone’s safety.
Being prepared for potential road bumps on your summer trip is the key factor in reducing your stress in the process. Don’t get stuck not knowing what to do, but instead, plan ahead for the things you might need in case of an emergency. Rest up, pack up, and get yourself on the road for your next summer time adventure!