Many people are eagerly anticipating hitting the road for a summer vacation this year, especially as summer 2020 featured few opportunities for travel. Now that it’s a bit safer to travel, many are raring to go and experience a new location, even for a few days. With good planning and preparation, your road trip can be a total blast, and safe, too.
How to Prepare Your Vehicle for a Summer Road Trip
If you’re driving your own vehicle on a road trip, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prepare for the trip. You’ll need to pack not only your own belongings, but things you might need on the road too. Make a checklist so you don’t forget any of the steps.
Many of these tips are recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who are experts at road safety. They advise that anyone embarking on a trip follows their summer road trip tips. Here are some of the things you should do to get your car ready for travel.
- Have your vehicle serviced — before embarking on a long drive, it’s a good idea to visit your preferred mechanic and have them check your car out. Make sure the oil doesn’t need to be changed, that you have enough coolant, your tires are full, and more. Making sure your vehicle is in good working order can help prevent breakdowns.
- Check for recalls — recall information is publicly available. Typically, owners are directly informed but it doesn’t always happen. You can check to see if there is a recall on your vehicle by entering your VIN on the NHTSA site.
- Read your manual — it’s a good idea to check the manual and familiarize yourself with features you may use on the road. This is especially important if you are traveling into areas with different weather patterns and geography than home. You should know how your car can handle mountain drives if you live in a state without mountain ranges, for example.
- Have an emergency plan — do you know what to do if you get a flat tire, or your car overheats? If you have a roadside protection plan, make sure to bring your membership information and contact numbers. You should always know who to call if you break down while traveling.
These tactics should help get your car into the best shape possible for your trip. Once you’ve achieved that, you can move on to figuring out how to best stock your vehicle for the road. It’s not just about snacks and wardrobe, either. There are many things you may want to stock up on before hitting the road.
How to Stock Your Car for the Ultimate Road Trip
You’re likely already planning the wardrobe and snack portion of your packing, but there are many other necessary items you will want to include if you are heading to another state or a long road trip. They include:
- Cell phone and multiple chargers — chargers can break or get lost, so it’s a good idea to bring some backups to ensure you can always call for help.
- First aid supplies — bring a first aid kit stocked with items you might need, like bandages, gauze, pain medication, disinfectant, anti-nausea medication, and anything else you suspect you might need.
- Repair essentials — there are minor road incidents you may be able to deal with yourself. Stock your vehicle with jumper cables, work gloves, basic repair tools, tire pressure gauge, duct tape, a tire jack, and a ground mat so you can change a tire or jump start your vehicle if necessary.
- Food and drinking water — bring easy and filling snacks like nuts, protein bars, and other things that travel well so you won’t go hungry on the road
- Extra oil and windshield washer fluid — if you are capable of changing oil yourself, it’s always good to have some extra and a funnel on hand, along with windshield washer fluid
- Maps — while many rely on GPS, it’s good to have a map as a backup in case you enter an area without service
- Cleaning supplies — water, paper towels, and other cleaning products might be good to carry in the car, in case of any spills or unexpected mud puddles
- Emergency blankets and coats — some extra warmth can help you stay comfortable in case of changes in weather or unexpected situations
Preparing your vehicle ahead of time will make for a smoother trip overall. When you’re actually on the road, you can focus on the safety of your passengers and others on the road. Make sure everyone is buckled in, seated appropriately (use car seats and booster seats for children when appropriate), and follow the rules of the road.
It’s also important to note that the interior temperature of a car rises quickly. NHTSA says that if the outdoor temperature is 80 degrees, the interior can reach fatal levels in just minutes. Make sure everyone, pets, children, adults, are all out of the vehicle before closing it and locking it when you make stops along the way.
Intoxalock Can Help Ignition Interlock Device Users
If you’re heading out for a trip and have an ignition interlock device installed, Intoxalock can help! Make sure to contact the reporting agency who monitors your ignition interlock results to let them know you are traveling. You’re still required to use the ignition interlock device as normal, even when out of state.
You can visit an installation center for calibration before leaving. Many states allow early calibration, though the exact number of days varies by state.
If you run into trouble on the road, Intoxalock has more locations than any other provider. In an emergency, you should be able to find a service center that can help.