It’s safety first for any holiday driving, including this long Fourth of July weekend. Every family road trip should start with a ten minute check of the car in the driveway to give you peace of mind on the road ahead. Ten minutes now can save you headaches, time and money, and avoid ruining the weekend getaway or longer vacaiton trip.
Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering and brake and transmission, as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. Top off anything that’s low.
Check hoses and belts that can become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.
Check the tires. Uneven wear indicates you need a wheel alignment. Check the pressure. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, under-inflated tires contribute to more than 600 deaths and 33,000 injuries every year. Plus, low tire pressure can cost you up to nine cents a gallon at the pump. That’s because under-inflated tires cause your car to work harder and burn more gas.
Check the wiper blades. If they are cracked or stiff, replace them. The Car Care Council recommends replacing blades every six months.
Restock the emergency kit. Put fresh batteries in the flashlight, replace the band-aids that the last skinned knee used up, etc. And if you don’t have one — buy one. There are AAA-approved kits for as little at $20 online from websites like BestCarKits.com.
- On the road, get better gas mileage by avoiding aggressive driving, observing the speed limit and avoiding excessive idling. All of that wastes fuel.
More driving safety tips:
- buckle up
- don’t mix drinking and driving
- avoid distractions — that means keep your eyes on the road, not on the cellphone
- leave early so you don’t have to speed en route
Have a safe and sane Fourth of July. Drive safely. Drive smarter.
by Evelyn Kanter