Automotive Weekly – 7/07/18

COOL TIPS FOR A SAFE SUMMER TRIP

Of the many great things about summertime, few match the fun of a family road trip. Before you hook up that new boat or camper, or hit the road with your family or friends in your car, SUV, pickup, or RV, take the time to review these summer travel safety tips from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Prevention and planning may take a little time up front, but will spare you from dealing with the consequences of a breakdown, or worse yet, a highway crash later.

Recalls:

Before you go, be sure to check for any open recall on your vehicle.  Owners may not always know that their vehicle has been recalled and needs to be repaired. NHTSA’s VIN look-up tool lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if a specific vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last 15 years. Check for recalls on your vehicle by searching now: www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

Service:

Make sure your vehicle is up to date with its maintenance schedule.   Regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing breakdowns. If your vehicle has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, it should be in good condition to travel.

Safety Check:

Do a quick vehicle safety check.  Regardless of how well you take care of your ride, it’s important to perform the following basic safety checks before you go on a road trip. Check: the air conditioning, cooling system and coolant level, other fluid levels, including the oil, brake, transmission, power steering, and windshield washer fluids.  Make sure each reservoir is full.  Do a visual check of all belts and hoses. Make sure there are no signs of bulges, blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber. While you’re at it, check all hose connections to make sure they’re secure. After the heavy toll imposed by winter storms and spring rains, windshield wiper blades may need to be replaced. If they aren’t in top condition, invest in new ones before you go. Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are in working order. Check your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights. Towing a trailer? Be sure to also check your trailer including brake lights and turn signals. A failure of the trailer light connection is a common problem and a serious safety hazard.

Emergency Kit:

Make sure you have an emergency roadside kit in the car. Suggested emergency roadside kit contents:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables (or power pack for restarting battery)
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
  • Gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Maps
  • Emergency blankets, towels and coats

Tires:

Check your vehicle’s tire inflation pressure at least once a month and when your tires are cold (when the car hasn’t been driven for three hours or more) and don’t forget to check your spare, if your vehicle is equipped with one. The correct pressure for your tires is listed on a label on the driver’s door pillar or doorframe or in the vehicle owner’s manual.  Also, take five minutes to inspect your tires for signs of excessive or uneven wear. If the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to replace your tires. Look for the built in wear bar indicators on your tires.

Buckle Up and Drive Safely:

Protect yourself and your loved ones by buckling up every time, every trip.  Stay alert and remember and plan enough time to stop along the way to take a group stretch, get something to eat and drink, return any calls or text messages, and change drivers if you’re feeling tired or drowsy.  Warmer weather also attracts many types of roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle—3 or 4 seconds’ worth.

No Risky Driving:

The focus of every driver, at all times, should be driving. Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention away from driving. The most obvious forms of distraction are cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.  Alcohol and drugs can also impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory, the skills critical for safe and responsible driving. Deaths caused by impaired driving are preventable, and too many lives are tragically cut short in traffic crashes involving drunk and drugged driving.

Be sure to have fun on your next trip, but be sure and make it a safe trip as well on the road!

Reported by: Kim Perrella

ENYCAR’s Vice President of Auto Shows and Member Relations