Memorial Day’s in the rearview mirror. Summer driving season has arrived in Colorado. That means highways full of tourists, crowded mountain roads, and Colorado’s notoriously unpredictable weather.
If you and your family are hitting the road for a holiday weekend or any other time this summer, your preparations should include getting your car ready, too.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR CAR
The easiest way to ensure a safe summer road trip, free of accidents or breakdowns, is to make sure the motor vehicle is perfect working order. There are enough things to worry about during a road trip with drunk drivers, distracted tourists trying to read maps, and reckless teenagers who have an entire summer ahead of them.
Change the oil. The days of changing your oil every 3,000 miles are long gone, since most auto manufacturers recommend oil changes anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. But it’s still prudent to spring for an oil change before a long road trip, especially when you’ll be running the car for hours at a time, possibly during extremely hot conditions.
Check fluids. There’s more than just motor oil running through your car’s veins. There are plenty of other fluids that should be checked before you take it out of the garage. Check your wiper fluid, so you can see where you are going. Check your radiator fluid, too. If it’s been awhile, splurge on a flush and replace all the existing coolant. They’re often overlooked, but it’s a good idea to check your transmission, power steering, and brake fluids as well.
Check everything else. Once all of that’s done, double-check the windshield wipers themselves. Examine your car’s battery, looking for any corrosion on the posts or signs of leaking. It’s also a straightforward DIY project to inspect your own air filter, and replace it if necessary. Your headlights could use a quick look also to see if there’s any fogging or cracks. You want to be able to see other drivers – and potential dangers – after dark. Finally, kick the tires and check the pressure against the manufacturer recommendations.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR CARGO
It’s just as important to prepare for the people who are going to be in the car, too.
Plan ahead. In this age of smartphones, it might seem a little old school, but it’s always a good idea to take along a physical map or atlas. You never know when your devices will run out of juice or out of range. Plan your route in advance, and take the paperwork to back it up. There are already enough drivers on the roads distracted with their own navigational aids.
Pass the time. Road trips, especially with younger passengers, can get tedious for even the best of sports. Travel-size games, toys, and even portable electronic devices such as iPads can help entertain your passengers. Of course, books still work, too. Not only will this keep everyone happy, but it prevents the passengers from distracting the driver with a restless backseat.
Prepare for the worst. Things can go wrong with even the best of planning. The extra baggage is a small price to pay for being prepared. Every vehicle should be stocked with emergency supplies, such as a wool blanket, a flashlight, and a small mechanic’s toolkit. Extra food – in addition to the rations you’ve already included – is helpful if you get stuck on the side of the road. Finally, it’s prudent to include a first aid kit, for the things you can never predict.
Road trips are as American as the Fourth of July. But they can end all too quickly – and tragically – if there’s an accident that leaves you or your loved ones injured. There’s only so much you can do to prepare for a road trip. When there are so many distracted, lost and reckless drivers on the road, accidents are bound to happen. If you find yourself in the tragic position of getting into accident because of someone else’s negligence, call the Denver personal injury lawyers at Burg Simpson directly at 303-792-5595 or fill out a FREE Evaluation Form on our website before it’s too late to get help!