A road trip can be an exhilarating experience- or it can be a depressing one, depending on how well your car is prepared for the journey. Before you hit the open road it is important to check your car for any possible problems. Here are 5 tips to help you avoid any nasty car accidents during your road adventure.
Check Air Pressure
Want to avoid a flat? Want to skip waiting on the side of the road for assistance in an area you’re unfamiliar with, possibly miles from civilization? Make sure your tires are ready to go. A tire pressure gauge generally costs about $2 or less and can clue you in on tires that are overfilled or under filled (and guess what- both are equally risky). Don’t rely on the gauges at the gas station or car wash, as these can be unreliable. If needed, inflate or deflate your tires to the proper psi before you go.
Make Sure Tires Can Handle the Wear
A tire that has lost its tread is also dangerous for a road trip, since tires can blow off or reduce traction if they are too worn down. Use a penny to determine their wear or purchase a tread tester to see where you’re at. Tires tend to get hotter over the course of a long trip, so if you’re on the fence about replacing them, go ahead and get new tires.
Get an Oil Change
If you’re headed on a long trip and it’s been awhile since your last oil change, go ahead and have one done. You don’t want to risk attempting to find one in the middle of your trip, and you’ll have the peace of mind that the oil has been totally replaced for the duration of the trip. Plus, you’re likely to find better prices in your own local areas with coupons rather than hunting on the road, where you’ll be subject to whatever that company is charging for that day.
Conduct a Signals Test
Grab one of your kids or a buddy and make sure that all the lights and signals are working on the vehicle. This keeps you safe, but also helps you to avoid unwanted interactions with law enforcement on your vacation. Make sure that all turn signals and front lights especially are working. Just a few minutes spent doing this can eliminate headaches and being pulled over on the road.
Pack and Double-Check Emergency Equipment
Maybe you had emergency equipment in the car at one point but it’s old or you used it a few months ago. Now is a great time to thoroughly review everything you’ve got in your car and replace any needed items. Take care to have working versions of anything that alerts other drivers to car trouble- you want to avoid the chances of a car accident from another vehicle barreling down without realizing you were having issues. Even if you’ve got a GPS, make sure to throw a map of where you’re headed in the back. Electronics can malfunction, so it’s always best to have a backup plan.
What safety tips do you add in to make sure you’re ready to hit the road?