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Summer Road Trip Car Tips and Tricks

Updated on May 22, 2014

Summer is well on its way and what is something that comes to mind when you think of the summer months? I don't know about you, but road trips are a pretty big deal in the summertime where lots of people get together and go on a fun family and friends vacation. What better way to enjoy summer than with the family and friends you love? But first, it's absolutely necessary to make sure all the functions in the car are working well because safety is the number one deal when it comes to having fun. Here is a quick checklist and guideline on how to be safe on the road and make some pretty awesome memories. If this seems like a crazy amount of things to do before you go out and have fun, remember that the key to planning a fun summer road trip is to be safe as well. The checklist isn't too time-consuming and you will be well on your way to have fun in absolutely no time at all.

Basic Vehicle Checkup

The wear and tear of your vehicle throughout the year can take a toll on the safety features of your car, so a quick checkup is necessary before you start your trip. All major systems should be checked to guarantee the safest trip possible.

Tires and Suspension

Driving over potholes throughout the year and take toll of tires, steering, and suspension. Because of this, you may need an alignment before the big trip. Be sure to check for tread wear and make sure that the tire pressure is the same as the one recommended by the manufacturer. Tire safety is very important, so don't forget to include a fully inflated spare tire.

Check your brakes

The road salt used during areas with harsh winter climates causes brake damage so you would need to get your brakes serviced before you hit the roads. You would have to check when your brakes last had service inspection. Any time more than 6 months requires new inspection to guarantee safety. The brake inspection should include inspection of the lining and pads, as well as the hydraulic system. If there is any issue, maintenance work needs to be done immediately to ensure safety.

Air Conditioning

Make sure everything is working or else you would have some overheated and grumpy passengers. One of the worst things is to drive in 100+ degree weather with no air conditioning. Keep everyone cool and happy and you will have absolutely no problems.

Check headlights

Headlights are an extremely important factor in safety, especially when you drive at night. Perhaps you can think about upgrading your factory incandescent bulbs to brighter, and crisper LED lights that make it much easier to see what's on the road in case you have to drive at night. Better visibility equals better safety, and safety should never be compromised. Not only do LED lights increase safety, they have an extra long shelf life, so you wouldn't have to really replace it as frequently as you would halogen bulbs.

Upgrade rear view mirror

A larger rearview mirror increases visibility on the road behind you and eliminates blind spots. Instead of a traditional sized one, the larger rear view mirror allows you to see at all sorts of angles, so you can better prepare yourself and be alert to some of the crazier, reckless drivers on the road and act accordingly to prevent any accident. A larger rear view mirror is a great upgrade not only for road trips, but for everyday driving as well.

Now that you've got all the maintenance work taken care of, maybe you've got all the necessary food and supplies ready to go as well. When you're on the road, just remember a few of these important tips to guarantee safety of you and your loved ones.

Don't drink and drive

It should already be a given that people shouldn't drink and drive. Lack of sleep combined with alcohol severely impairs a person's cognitive driving skills. Excessive alcohol causes people to fall asleep on the wheel, making is extremely dangerous to not only the driver and the passengers, but also to others on the road. When you drive tired, one drink feels like four and mixing medications with alcohol is also a contributing factor in accidents.

Don't stress out

When it comes to road trips, you can be sure that you're not the only one on the road. Prepare of checklist of the food and supplies you'll need to bring for everyone and get a head start on the road. Don't wait until the absolute last minute to head out because everyone would be out already and you would have to deal with traffic. Take deep breaths and inhale plenty of air into your lungs for stress management. Focus on keeping everyone in the car safe and be on the lookout for any issues on the road. Don't just look at the bumper of the car in front of you, but keep an open eye in the distance so you can judge traffic accordingly. This will help in case you may need to suddenly stop because of any potential traffic backups that may or may not cause a collision on the road.

Just grab your gear, do any necessary car checks and you're pretty much good to go for your annual summer road trip. If this is your first time planning a road trip, don't stress out if you think that this checklist is way too long and hinders your chance of having fun. As long as you make sure your car is safe, maybe with some oil check and brand new brighter LED lights, you would be well on your way to having the summer of your life.

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    • AutoMechanic profile image

      Maria Waley 

      4 years ago from Australia ,Victoria

      Here are some more tips for car trip vacation

      Check tire air pressure, including spare

      Check oil and gas level

      Maps

      Global Positioning System (GPS)

      Sun block, sunglasses

      This is important on a long trip when the sun may be shining on your arms and face for a long time.

      Insulated bag for cold drinks and fruits

      Take water for drinking, for the radiator, or windshield washer.

      Soft drinks may be OK for you, but they cannot be used for the car.

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