Safety Tips For Your Upcoming Road Trip

Spring road trips can be a lot of fun, provided that you and your car are properly prepared. Knowing what you can do to get your vehicle ready for your long journey can help your trip go smoothly and safely.

Get Your Car Tuned Up Before Leaving

Before hitting the open road with your car, have a mechanic give your car a tuneup. During your vehicle's tuneup, your mechanic should perform routine services like an oil change, filter replacement and fluid topping. In addition, have your mechanic check the following:

  • Tires. Have the mechanic check the inflation, tread and overall condition of your tires.
  • Transmission. Have your mechanic check your transmission fluid and the overall performance of your transmission.
  • Windshield wipers. Your car's windshield wipers are especially important for safe driving during springtime weather. Have your windshield wipers inspected for signs of deterioration, and have them replaced if needed.
  • Belts. Have your mechanic check the belts in your car for wear and tear. If your car has a timing belt, find out from your mechanic whether or not your timing belt also needs to be inspected, as the timing belt inspection is only performed after many thousands of miles.

Prepare for Bad Weather

Late winter and early spring is a time of challenging driving conditions. Rain showers are common, but freezing temperatures can still occur. If you're not used to driving in bad weather, it's important to prepare for the worst. Knowing how to handle poor driving conditions can help you stay safe on the road. Below are some of the common weather-related problems you may experience on the road.

  • Hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is what occurs when your car skids on top of puddles without the tires touching the asphalt. If your car begins to hydroplane, ease up on the accelerator and gently straighten the tires until the car straightens itself. To avoid hydroplaning, slow down on the road and keep your vehicle out of puddles.
  • Black ice. Many people assume that the threat of black ice has passed once the weather starts to warm in late winter, but late winter freezes can still happen. In fact, black ice may be more of a threat in late winter because daytime temperatures rise enough that snow can melt and form puddles that later freeze at night. If you should find yourself skidding over black ice during your road trip, follow the above instructions for hydroplaning. Once you've got the vehicle under control, stop the car at a nearby road stop and wait there until the ice has melted.

Have a Phone Ready For Emergencies

Have your cell phone on hand and easily accessible throughout your trip. Keep it in the cab of the car with you. To avoid problems with your battery, bring a cell phone charger that plugs into your vehicle, or buy an external battery. This way, if you run into trouble, you'll be able to call a towing service like Elden Dattage Towing & Auto Repair for immediate help.