‘Tis the season for traveling near and far to spend time with family. Many of us travel by car on roads that are especially busy and affected by winter weather. We want everyone to arrive at their destinations safely and offer a few tips holiday season travel tips to make sure your trip is trouble free:
Check Your Tires
We seem to forget about our tires until something goes wrong. It’s a bit ironic considering 4 small patches of rubber is all that connects our vehicles to the pavement. Before any road trip check the pressure of your tired with a quality gauge. Under inflated tired reduce fuel economy and can be a safety hazard, especially in a vehicle loaded up with people and their heavy stuff.
Visually inspect your tire tread and sidewalls for any signs of damage. Is the tread depth adequate? Are there any signs of uneven or unusual tread wear? If anything about your tires seems irregular, make a trip to the tire shop for a professional inspection.
Check Vehicle Fluids
Oil is the lifeblood of a vehicle, it has been said. That might be true but is not the only important fluid circulating under the hood. Transmission fluid (aka ATF), engine coolant or antifreeze, brake and power steering fluid are all critically important. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the procedures to check these fluids in your vehicle. Before any road trip make sure the fluids are at the correct levels and have been changed as recommended by the manufacturer.
Spare Tire and Jack
I’ve had the unfortunate experience of a flat tire in the middle of Nowhere, NV and discovered my vehicle did not have a functional jack. The experience quickly ruins an otherwise fun trip. Before hitting the road make sure your spare tire is in good condition and that you have a jack and lug nut wrench. It should go without saying, but knowing how to actually change a flat tire would be invaluable as well.
Have an Emergency Kit
Having a few essentials on hand could be a lifesaver if you become stranded in a remote area. A small daypack loaded with food, water and other provisions doesn’t take up much room and is easy to pack. You should adjust the contents of the kit based on the seasons and the area you will be traveling in. For example, if you are driving across the desert extra water would make sense. In snowy or cold conditions extra blankets or warm clothing would make sense. Other items to consider carrying are road flares, a tool kit, flashlight, jumper cables and paper maps of the area. The Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” makes perfect sense when driving long distances.
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season and hope your travels are safe and trouble free.