TIPS OF THE WEEK
It’s the season for family and friends to come together and enjoy time spent with one another. This can mean taking a road trip, along with many others who will head out on the highways and roads. But with more travelers comes a greater chance of accidents.
It helps to leave early for your destination so you don’t feel rushed. Plan ahead to avoid making hasty driving decision. The more time you give yourself, the more likely you’ll be a patient and careful driver.
Get a good night’s rest
Never take a road trip while drowsy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 72,000 accidents nationwide are caused by drowsy drivers. Go to bed in time to get a full night’s sleep the night before a trip.
If you travel overnight, consider traveling a short distance and then stopping for a rest break. If you are having difficulty focusing on the road, pull over and take a 20-minute rest. A well-lit grocery or hospital parking lot is ideal at night because of the amount of people around.
Monitor the roads and weather
Prior to leaving for your road trip, look at the road and weather conditions. If you think you may run into bad weather, pay attention to travel warnings. If conditions are extreme, wait until the weather improves to take off. It’s better to arrive a day or two later than to not arrive at all.If you do not feel comfortable driving in the weather occurring on your route, you might also look for alternative routes that may allow you to avoid it.
Watch your surroundings
Accidents can happen on residential roads, rural roads, and major freeways. No matter the time of day, pay attention to your surroundings while driving. Stay away from erratic drivers, pay attention to exits and entrances to the freeway, and always use your lights and turn signals so others can be aware of where you’re going.
At ProCare Collision, we want everyone to be safe when traveling for the holidays. If you are in a collision, give us a call for a free estimate and we’ll exceed your expectations for efficient auto body repair.
This list is meant to cover all the ordinary checks you’ll want to do before an extended drive, to make sure you and your family are driving safe.
1. No heat? It might be more than you think.
If you found out this winter that your car is not blowing hot air it might be a bigger problem. The heat comes from your engine and the inner workings of the car. This means a more important part of your car is probably not doing something that it should. To not run into any surprises on the road don’t take your car on that road trip until you get the problem fixed. You don’t want to end up in a random auto body shop far away from home.
2. Check your dash and lights
Make sure there aren’t any warning lights on your dashboard. If there are, take your car to a mechanic to will check the on-board diagnostics with a scanning device. It works like a computer and reads if there’s anything wrong with the vehicle. This step will help you find out the causes behind the warning lights and how they can be fixed.
Check your headlights too. Turn them on and off to make sure they are all working. If not, head to your local auto parts store to buy some new bulbs. Being visible to other drivers is a key safety issue, and drivers who use their headlights all day have a decreased risk of being in an accident.
Also, if you haven’t driven the car recently, take it for a test drive on the freeway, listen for noises, feel for shakes, and watch for trouble signs in the gauges.
3. Tire Pressure and Tread
Tires are a major safety concern. Check tire pressure and tread before taking an extended drive.
Look in your car’s manual for the recommended tire pressure. People often think the number on the tire is pressure, but it’s the maximum amount the tire can hold. Overfilling the tire combined with hot weather can lead to a blowout.
Be sure to add the correct amount of air to your tires. Inspect the tread on your tires. Balding tires can increase your chance of a blowout and reduce traction.
4. Engine Oil and Coolant
Check your oil levels and the mileage you’re due for an oil change. If you’re nearing your mileage suggested for an oil change, go ahead and do so before you hit the road.
So be sure to check your coolant levels as well. You don’t want to be stranded with an overheated car.
Make sure to check your brake pads. If they squeal, or its been over 50,000 miles since you replaced your brakes, it’s a safe bet to just replace them before you get on the road.
You can also do a little at-home test looking at your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel’s spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. There should be at least 1/4 inch of pad if you see less than that you may want to go ahead and replace them.
A transmission is what changes the gear of an engine, and both your transmission and drive axle have their own lubricant. Check them before you get on the road. Look to your owner’s manual for guidance or take it to a local transmission shop for a quick refill.
Most of cars have features that can’t run without the belt, like the alternator, water pump, power steering and even the air conditioning. You can easily check the belts by turning them sideways and making sure there are no rips or tears or by taking your car to a local auto parts store.
Get your belts changed out if the auto parts store recommends it. If you’re vehicle savvy, watch this video below on how to change them at home.
While it can be a bit difficult to spot if you have a good or bad battery, there are steps you can take to make sure there is a strong connection to the car’s electrical system.
Mix two tablespoons of baking soda in a clean container, use a toothbrush to clean your battery then wipe the mixture away.
Make sure your documents are up-to-date. Carry your insurance papers, registration, driver’s license, and any other vehicle information that might be helpful during your trip.
10. Emergency kit
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Have an emergency kit with some essential items for if you get stranded or have car trouble.
A few things to think about include a few blankets, a bright flashlight, jumper cables, and some basic tools like a screwdriver or wrench.
Family road trips are a great way to bond and see parts of the world you’ve never been to before. Make sure your car is ready to safely get you there and back. (Source: Procare)