Many people take safety for granted when on a road trip. But, a lot can happen that you won’t be ready for. Here’s how to prepare to prevent accidents and other unsavory predicaments, especially if you’re on a long drive.
Avoid The Number One Mistake Most Drivers Make
According to Liberty Mutual Insurance, New Beginnings Report, about half of all Americans don’t check and pack emergency safety kits or items before they go on a road trip. It’s an easy fix and it could save your life.
A first aid kit is a good start. You might also consider road flares, a Faraday-style flashlight, water bottles and a way to filter non-potable water. Jumper cables are another good item to have, though a small self-charged battery so you can give yourself a jump is better.
Keep a small air compressor handy too.
If you’re feeling especially ambitious, pack yourself some flint and steel, waterproof matches, a large wool blanket, an extra set of clothes, waterproof clothes (i.e. a rain slicker), a small hatchet or axe (it’s useful if you’re stranded out in the country and need to chop down some branches for a fire or if you need to use it as a tool for some other purpose), a small set of screwdrivers, and a crank radio.
Everything should be stored inside of a small tote bag and placed in the trunk.
Avoid The Biggest Dangers On The Road
One of the biggest dangers out there on the road is distractions. Whether it’s your kids messing around in the back seat or other drivers cutting you off, or you fiddling with the radio, distracted driving can lead to an accident
According to Brown & Crouppen car accident attorney, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of injury on the road. So, stay safe, and concentrate on what’s in front of you.
Do This To Your Vehicle Before You Set Out On A Long Trip
Prep your vehicle for a long road trip by having it examined by a mechanic. Get the tires inflated to the proper PSI, check the oil and other fluid levels, change the windshield wipers, and do any regular maintenance or service for the mileage of the vehicle.
Maintenance isn’t just about changing your oil, though this is the normal and usual thing that people think about. Maintenance also includes things like making sure the spark plugs are firing properly in a high-mileage car.
It means making sure that the tie rods and ends aren’t loose, which could indicate premature steering failure. It means checking axles, brake pads and rotors, and the radiator.
If you live in the north, you should pay special attention to the gas and brake lines – they have a tendency to rust because many local municipalities in the north salt and sand the roads heavily in the wintertime. This salt corrodes the hard steel lines underneath the vehicle.
Brake pad wear is something most people don’t think about until they hear a high-pitched squealing coming from the wheels. But, by this point, the brake calipers might be damaged and the pads themselves might be completely worn away, rubbing the pad’s backing right on the rotor, scoring it and causing it to warp. None of this is good for braking performance, and it’s not a problem you want to experience away from home.
Coolant levels need to be checked, and your radiator should be in good working order. Even a small leak could cause your engine to overheat.
A Parking Hack That Could Prevent Theft
Before you leave your vehicle in some strange place at night, check to see whether there is a line-of-sight between your car and anything else, like a restaurant, a police station, or any establishment that is open while you’re away.
In many cities, “safety” could be the difference of just a few feet. If your vehicle is out of view of any major establishment, crooks might feel more safe about robbing you.
Why Keeping Your Car Clean Is Crucial
Thieves hate clean cars. Why? Because it means there’s probably nothing in them. Unless he’s a car thief, he’s looking to score some loot in addition to the car itself. But, if you stow everything in the trunk, and the only thing that’s visible is upholstery, then he’s not going to think that anything valuable is in the vehicle.
The Perfect Car To Rent
If you’re renting a vehicle, go non-descript. Blending in is a safety tactic. Rent models that aren’t easily exposed or broken into and that have a lot of trunk space. So, while a convertible might sound cool, it’s also a great way to attract attention – attention you don’t want.
Robert Diamond is a road safety officer and a committed RV enthusiast.He enjoys the chance to share his thoughts and suggestions online and writes regularly for a number of relevant websites.