It is always a good idea to prep your car before taking a trip, so you do not run into any problems on the road. Use this checklist to prepare yourself and your vehicle for what lies ahead.
- Check Your Tires
To help ensure a disaster-free road trip, check your tires for any signs of damage. Firstly, the tire pressure needs to be checked, as optimal tire inflation is important for performance, fuel economy, and safety. Every vehicle manufacturer has a recommended pressure that can be found in the owner manual. Look and feel your tires for bulges or bumps, cracking along the sidewall, or worn treads. If any of these issues present themselves, replace your vehicle’s tires before beginning your trip.
- Check Your Lights
Turn your car on and take a walk around to check the lights you would not otherwise see. Check your headlights, blinkers, hazard lights, and reverse lights. Are any of the lights cracked or burnt out? Your vehicle lights provide a clear path for you, but also are used to indicate your intentions to other users of the road. If your vehicle fails to provide the necessary lighting, it may result in a ticket, but can also be dangerous to you, and those around you at nighttime.
- Get a Tune-Up
As a car owner, you should take your car into the shop regularly, so what better time than before a road trip? Your mechanic can check the vehicle’s oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze/coolant, radiator coolant, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and power steering fluid to see if they need to be changed or topped off. They will also check to see if the hoses or belts are working properly, or if they need to be replaced. The best time to take your car in to get checked is a couple of weeks before your trip so there is time for repairs if there are any major issues.
- Renew Documents
There are plenty of documents you must have when driving that need to be kept up to date. If something happens while you’re on the road, the last thing you need is to be penalized for traveling with incorrect, or expired documents. Review the expiration date on your driver’s license, insurance, and registration, as well as your license plate sticker. Do this weeks in advance to give yourself time to get your papers in order if need be.
- Pack the Essentials
Make a list and pack ahead of time to reduce the chances of forgetting something. Consider packing road maps, hotel information, spare phone chargers, change for toll booths, music, travel games, snacks, and beverages. Look at your emergency roadside kit to make sure it is up to date. The kit should contain essentials such as jumper cables, blankets, hats and mitts, flashlights, a first aid kit, a tire patch kit, and extra snacks and water. Your emergency kit should be with you all year round, but especially on a road trip where maintenance issues may occur, and you may be traveling on more isolated roads than usual.
- Plan Ahead
Take the time to schedule your trip to figure out what times you’ll be stopping, when and where you will eat, and when and where to stop for the night. By doing this you are reducing the chances of driving dangerously without an adequate amount of food or sleep. This will also help to keep a schedule for alternating drivers. Having a plan reduces chaos and will have an important part in keeping the trip as low stress as possible.
CLG Injury Law has over 35 years’ experience representing Atlantic Canadians who have suffered injuries following a motor vehicle accident. For more articles and safety tips got to https://cantiniinjurylaw.ca/blog/ or subscribe to our newsletter.