Pre Road Trip Car Safety Check

When you are preparing for a road trip, your first thoughts are probably about how much fun it’s going to be, what to pack, and how soon you can leave. There’s nothing like a glitch to ruin a good trip though, and with a little preparation, you can avoid a few common problems.

The Car

Tune Up: If your car hasn’t had a tune up lately, now is the time. Have someone check your brakes, filters, and change the oil. Also have your mechanic check your brake lights, headlights, and turning signals for you.

Tires: Make sure your tires are at the proper pressure and have good tread. Bald tires can cause skids and blowouts, and that’s definitely not something you want to worry about heading down the highway.

Fluids: Besides the oil, you want to make sure your washer fluid is topped off and your radiator is properly filled.


Keys: Have an extra set of car keys in your purse or in your pocket. You never know when you may lock your keys in the car, and there may be no one to help you if you are far from home.

Maps: Have maps of each state you may be passing through. Have your course mapped out ahead of time to avoid confusion. There are some great online sites that can help with driving directions. In my personal experience, Rand McNally seems to have the best and most up to date directions, but most sites get you there with little trouble.

Gas: To be on the safe side, keep your tank full as you go along. Once your tank reaches the Ã?¼ full mark, get gas as soon as you can. You might want to get into the habit of filling up once you hit the half full mark. You don’t want to run out of gas if you end up lost. Don’t forget to have a good gas can in your trunk, just in case you need it.

Cell Phone: Your battery should be fully charged and your hands-free unit hooked up before you pull away. You should never attempt to handle a phone while driving. Hands-free attachments are a little safer, but you should pull over to talk if at all possible.

Paperwork: Have all insurance and registration numbers where you can easily find them. If you have AAA or any other roadside service, have those numbers programmed into your cell phone or stashed in your glove compartment for easy access.

Locks: No matter how safe you may feel doing so at your home, never go anywhere without locking your doors. Even if you are running into the store to grab a drink, lock your doors.

Tires: If you don’t know how to change a tired, learn before you go. You won’t be waiting along side the road for assistance for hours if you can do it yourself. Remember to do so carefully though. Don’t change a tire yourself if your car is stopped in an unsafe position.

Passengers: Children can handle car rides well if you are prepared. Any distractions causing you to glance from the road for even a second may lead to an accident. Have everything you may need, like snacks or drinks, out so you can easily reach them and hand them to your child without looking away from the road. Set them up with books, games, or toys and remind them you must concentrate on the road.

Visibility: Take along at least two pairs of good sunglasses. Clean all of your windows before you leave, and make sure nothing is obstructing your view out the back window. It’s also a good idea to clean your rearview mirrors.

Wrap Up

Once you are sure everything is in good working order, and you’ve readied your car, you are ready to go. Having a few less things to worry about on a long drive are always a welcome blessing, and leaves you with more time to enjoy yourself.

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