Your Road Trip Safety Checklist

Many South Carolinians take driving vacations during the summer months. Taking a few steps to make sure that your car is ready for a road trip in hot weather is time well spent.  Doing so can reduce your chances of being stranded on the roadside due to a mechanical problem or being involved in a car accident.

Check Your Car’s Tires

Before you hit the road, check your tires to make sure they have plenty of tread left. Worn tires increase the risk of hydroplaning on a rain-covered highway. Check the pressure to make sure the tires are properly inflated. Check the pressure after the car has been sitting a few hours. You can find information about the recommended tire pressure on the driver’s side door jam or in the car owner’s manual. Overinflated and underinflated tires put drivers at risk of accidents by reducing their braking threshold and altering how the car handles. Improperly inflated tires wear down faster, which can put you at risk of suffering a blowout.

Do you Have a Safety Kit?

Your car safety kit should contain equipment for your car as well as yourself.  Your summer safety kit should include:

  • Road flares;
  • Drinking water;
  • Windshield wiper fluid;
  • A flashlight with spare batteries;
  • A first aid kit;
  • Brake fluid;
  • Coolant;
  • A fire extinguisher;
  • Foam tire sealant to repair flat without changing tire;    and
  • Brightly colored rags in the event you need to “flag down” help.

Check All of the Car’s Fluid Levels

Before you leave home, check all your vehicle’s fluids to make sure they are at the correct levels. If they are low, top them off and check for any leaks in your vehicle’s systems. If you find a leak, have it repaired before making a long road trip. Fluids to check include:

  • Coolant;
  • Power steering fluid;
  • Windshield wiper fluid;
  • Brake fluid; and
  • Oil.

Change the oil if it has been more than 3,000 miles since the vehicle’s last oil change. Changing the oil regularly extends the life of the car engine.

Be Sure to Have Tools to Make Small Repairs

It is important that you are prepared for minor issues, such as a flat tire or a dead battery. Have the following in your vehicle so you can make these repairs yourself, rather than waiting for help to arrive:

  • A jack;
  • Jumper cables;
  • A spare tire; and
  • A small tool kit that includes a multi-purpose tool and duct tape.

Your owner’s manual will show where the spare tire is located and where to place the jack. You can use your smartphone to find instructions for making small repairs. It is important to have a fully charged cell phone with you in case you need to call for roadside assistance.

Work with Our Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

When you hit the road this summer, you should drive cautiously and be prepared for the types of issues that often arise. Be sure to obey speed limits and traffic rules and refrain from behaviors that could put you and others at risk of an accident, such as driving after drinking alcohol or driving when you are too tired to do so safely.