Summer Road Trip Safety Tips
With summer in full swing, who among us doesn’t fantasize about playing hooky on Friday and taking a road trip? Either to the beach, to visit friends up north, or just head out to points unknown. A nice three-day weekend to take advantage of the weather and soak up some sun while you’re doing it.
There’s nothing that says you have to throw caution into the wind when you do it, though. And while the roads are dry and visibility is usually clear, Summer does present a few problems you don’t have to worry about during the other seasons.
Regardless of the weather, there are a few items you should consider if you’re planning a lengthy drive:
- Food: Every road trip needs snacks of course. While you are thinking about chips, cookies, and other fun stuff, throw in some fruit or granola mix as well.
- Water: Nothing washes down treats like a nice cold soda, but think about bringing water in addition to soda. If you break down in a remote area, water will do a better job of hydration.
- Tire Change Tools: Flat tires will deflate a road trip faster than not having phone service. The situation becomes even direr if you don’t have a spare tire, jack, and lugnut wrench.
- Jumper Cables: Another trunk staple should be jumper cables. If you need a jump, people will be more likely to help if you have your own.
- Pre-Trip Check: Depending on the length of the trip, consider having a mechanic give your car the once over. A cracked hose in town is much easier to deal with then if you’re stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Annual maintenance should catch any issues, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check with a 400-mile trip in front of you.
Hitting the Road
Once provisions have been secured, you’re ready to head out. While the sun gets Pacific Northwesterners outside, it can also be a hazard during long trips. But there are steps you can take to mitigate those problems and concentrate on the fun trip ahead:
- Clean Windshield: Whether you’re heading out to the highway or stuck in rush-hour traffic, the sun can cause quite a glare on your windshield. And the dirtier the windshield, the harsher the glare. Whenever you stop to fill up at a gas station, take a look at and see if it could use a wipedown with the gas pump squeegee.
- Sunglasses: As the sun sets, even the cleanest windshield won’t help if the big yellow orb is right in your line of site. Having a pair of sunglasses is handy and pulling down the visor will help block the sun for the most part. Leave a little extra room in between you and the car in front, too.
- Headlights: If your vision is affected at all by the sun, you may need that extra time to react. You can do your part to help other drivers too – turn on your headlights so oncoming traffic is able to identify you or see you.
- Oily Roads: This is the Pacific Northwest, so you may drive through an occasional storm. Because the roads have been dry, the rain can “activate” any oil or grease that might be on the road and make things a little more slippery. Take extra care if there is any wetness on the road.
- Take Breaks: With the sun being in the sky longer, you may feel like you can get more driving in on an especially long road trip. If you start feeling drowsy, however, see if you can switch drivers or pull over for a spell to re-energize. Even getting out of the care for a five-minute stroll can give you the extra energy you need to get to where you’re going.
No matter if you’re on a liberating road trip or making a run to the grocery store, even taking the above precautions may not prevent a breakdown or an accident. If that happens, give Chappelle’s Towing a call. We’ve been serving the Vancouver area for nearly 40 years, providing tows, roadside assistance, and other services professionally and safely.