Wherever the open road may lead you on vacation this summer, you’ll get there safer and less stressed if you take time to prepare before pulling onto the highway. Edmunds.com offers the following ten Summer Travel Tips to keep in mind prior to traveling:
- Tend to your tires: Exchange your winter tires for summer or all-season tires.
- Stay on top of your fluids: Get your oil changed before you hit the road. While the hood is up, check the coolant / antifreeze mixture in your radiator — the optimal ratio of coolant to water is 50:50. You can check the balance with an inexpensive antifreeze tester, available at all auto parts stores.
- Give the rest of your car a once-over: Inspect belts, hoses and wiper blades — the life expectancy of wiper blades is one year. Also check the windshield washer fluid reservoir, and the battery. If your battery is 3 or more years old, have it tested by a mechanic. Both extreme heat and extreme cold take a toll on an automotive battery.
- Prepare an emergency kit for your car: Include a flashlight, flares, first aid kit, jumper cables, blanket, extra clothes, gloves, paper towels, extra washer fluid, nonperishable food, a jug of water and basic tools.
- Pack smart: Only bring what’s necessary and pack well ahead of time, so as not to forget any essentials.
- Load smart: Don’t pack items so high that they block your vision. Don’t bury items that you’ll want to access at a rest stop. Even out your load from side to side, and keep heavy items in the center for optimal road handling. If you’re carrying a heavy load in the rear of your vehicle, consider having your headlights aimed slightly down, so you’ll see the road better, and not blind oncoming drivers. If road signs are brighter than usual, or you can see the hair color of drivers ahead of you, your headlamps need to be adjusted down. You owner’s manual will explain how.
- Avoid fatigue: Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before spending hours behind the wheel. Be mindful of caffeine — a short-term coffee buzz is followed by a lull. Switch drivers every couple of hours if you can. Stop often.
- Tow trailers with safety in mind: Drive slow and smoothly, and use extra caution when changing lanes and braking. Install mirror extensions if necessary. If you have little experience towing, spend some time researching how to do it safely beforehand.
- Take the scenic route: More picturesque side roads are less likely to be packed with big rigs and holiday travelers, and boast more historic and natural landmarks, to boot.
- Be nice: You’re tired, other drivers are tired, and highway driving (especially with children in-tow) can try anyone’s patience. Use your signals, let faster drivers pass, don’t tailgate and be patient with big trucks and RVs.
We at Regan Zambri & Long urge all of our clients and friends to exercise good judgment while driving this summer. For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at (202) 753-4272.