Road trips don't end when school starts back. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, millions of families hit the road for holiday travels, and trips through out the year. My family alone take several trips through out the year, and have four trips planned between September and New Years! My husband is a stickler for making sure our car is safe and reliable, before we hit the road.
Here are some quick steps to follow before a road trip...
Check the tires
This may be one of the number one things car owners do before hitting the road. It's important to check your tire tread, and as as your tire pressure before heading off on a trip. Use can use the old penny trick to check the depth of your tire tread before hitting the road. Low tread or bald tires can make driving very dangerous. Keep yourself and your family safe by replacing tires when the tread wears down. You should also check your tire pressure, and make sure tires are properly balanced before taking a trip.
Make sure you have checked all of your fluids before hitting the road. Make sure your washer fluid is filled, and that it releases when you hit the button in your car. Check to see if you need to have your car serviced, and have your fluids flushed and changed or replaced.
Packing too much weight into the car can lead to the car being unbalanced on the road. It can also lead to lower gas mileage. Pack as lightly as possible, bringing only the things you absolutely need- especially if you're traveling with your family, and will have a car filled with people.
Pack an emergency kit
It's a great idea to have an emergency kit packed in the trunk of your car at all times. Important items should include a blanket, bottled water,a few non-perishable snacks, flashlight, first aid kit, jumper cables, glass breaker, de-icer or scraper, etc.
Make sure you have a spare
A spare tire, that is. No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road, with no way of getting to a service station, if need be. If you have room for a full extra tire, it's a great idea to keep it with you. Even if you don't have room for a full tire in your trunk, do make sure to keep a spare or donut tire with you, and make sure you know how to change a tire, if need be. If you are a AAA member, be sure to have your membership info with you, including the service number to call, in case you need a tow.
Make sure the lights work
Before heading off on a trip, make sure that all of your lights work properly. Check the headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and make sure your blinkers are working properly. Having lights that are not working can lead to accidents on the road, and you can also be pulled over and ticketed, depending on what the state laws are.
Check the wiper blades
I was once on a road trip with my dad, and we got caught in a horrible rain storm, driving in the Shannandoah mountains. We were in a rental car and had no idea that the wiper blades were dull. The wipers smeared the water all over the windshield, making it incredibly difficult for us to see. This was such a dangerous situation to be in. We pulled off at the nearest service station we could locate and had them change the wiper blades. Point of the story- make sure your wiper blades work properly before a road trip- even in a rental car.