With another frigid North American winter coming to a close, the promise of new adventures on the open road lays ahead. But before you head out for your first windows-down road trip of the year, make sure that you’re prepared in case of an emergency.
“Hitting the road with your friends and family is one of summer’s simplest pleasures”, says Darryl Croft, automotive expert at OK Tire. “To avoid derailing your trip with an unfortunate delay, or worse, make sure you and your vehicle are well prepared.”
Here are five things to check before you head out on your next adventure:
- Pack an emergency kit. Your kit should include non-perishable food and bottled water, washer fluid, a spare tire, jumper cables, jack and tool kit, first aid supplies, flares, candles and matches or a lighter, flashlight, batteries, and your cell phone charger. Keeping this small yet crucial kit with you could seriously avoid roadside disaster.
- Your keys are key! Check that the battery of your electronic car keys is functioning optimally and bring two sets of keys with you in case, knock on wood, one pair gets lost. Replacing a set of electronic keys can be costly and, in many cases, only the car’s dealer will have the coding right to reproduce your set. Last but far from least, do not leave the spare set in your vehicle. You will greatly thank yourself for keeping those spare car keys on you should you need them in an emergency.
- How is your vehicle’s ride control? Your tires, brakes, steering, and suspension should all be checked out by an automotive professional to ensure that they’re running smoothly. Lacking performance from any of the above could mean trouble if a part of your trip calls for high speeds, bumpy road driving or quick stops.
- Keep your paperwork handy. Your owner’s manual, registration, license and proof of insurance should all be with you. Make sure that your license, registration and insurance won’t expire while you’re on your trip. If you don’t have your vehicle’s manual anymore, most automakers offer PDF manuals online.
- Plan your route and be prepared for any stops or detours. Before you set out, make sure the driver or drivers are familiar with where you’re going, and are prepared for things like road tolls or the potential of roadwork forcing you to detour onto a new route. Keep gas at a comfortable level should you find yourself going longer than expected distances between gas stations. When fuel nears one quarter full, make sure you hit the next station you see – which may also be a good time to revisit your map to ensure that you’re still on track.