Planning for a road trip is always an exciting and limitless experience. You can bring your family, friends, go solo, or meet up with loved ones along the way, which motivates so many people to take a road trip in their lifetime. In fact, according to the U.S. Travel Association, 72% of Americans planned to take a road trip just in the summer of 2021. While road trips serve as such a special time in people’s lives, they do come with potential risks. The wear and tear on your car while driving can hold back or even end your road trip altogether. This blog will discuss some safety measures you can take on in order to avoid missing out on all the fun.
Check The Strength Of Your Car Battery
Taking care of your battery can be understood in three easy steps: inspection, clean, and test. Taking these seriously will allow for your battery’s best chance at a long lifespan, permitting your road trip to continue on uninterrupted. Here’s how to approach each step:
- Inspection: Pop the hood and inspect the battery. Assess any/all abnormalities, including dirt, decomposing cables, pretty much anything that isn’t a clean battery. Don’t be alarmed at the sight of a little bit of leakage, but if you can identify a great deal of corrosion on the outside, that is indicative of the greater problem on the inside. It’s likely that it will consume and damage your car’s insulation, affect the cables, and become a more global issue as it persists. If this happens, it might be time to replace your battery.
- Clean: In an instance where corrosion hasn’t gotten out of hand, simply keeping the battery clean can keep the consequences at bay. Clean your battery by first disconnecting the cables, then cleaning the inside of the connectors and the outside of the terminals.
- Test: You should be testing your battery at the same rate that you change your oil. You can ask your car dealership to check the state of your battery, or get your own commercial battery tester. These will provide specs on the battery’s temperature, voltages, and amps.
Top Off Fluids
Believe it or not, gasoline is not the only fluid that your car needs in order to run safely and properly. For a car to be considered safe to drive, other fluids such as the steering, brake, transmission, and engine oil all need to be at their necessary levels. If they are not, this not only can cause internal damages to your vehicle, but it can create a dangerous situation on the road if your car breaks down unexpectedly. All of these various fluids play their own special role in making a vehicle run smoothly, reliably, and safely, so checking to make sure that they are in order before your departure is quick, cheap, easy, and can prevent a tragedy from occurring.
Check Your Brakes
Arguably, the most important aspect of your vehicle in terms of safety are the brakes. As noted by JC Automotives, “Your brakes care the most important safety system in your vehicle […] Brakes that aren’t maintained and regularly inspected cab let you down when you need them the most.” Because brakes are so important to your safety and anyone else on the road, it is always recommended that you take your car in for a brake inspection by professionals. Typically, this will include a test drive by the mechanic, and inspection of the brake pad, brake fluid, brake sensors, wheel cylinders, brake lines, and any and all pieces that are connected to the brake system. If there is a problem, have it fixed immediately or postpone your trip until you can have any issues fully taken care of.
Having a tire blow out while driving at high speeds can be incredibly dangerous not only for you, but other drivers on the road. So, before you set off on a long trip, it is crucial that you check the durability and the condition of all four of your vehicle’s tires and your spare if you have one. Check to see if there are any noticeable cuts, bumps, bulges, and the tire’s tread to make sure it hasn’t been worn down. While you’re at it, also check the pressure of the tires to make sure that they match the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure. If you do notice something wrong with a tire, don’t try and make it a quick fix and take it to a professional to be handled properly.
What To Do If Your Car Breaks Down On a Road Trip And Causes An Accident
The primary reason that you want to check the maintenance of your car before a long trip is for the safety of yourself and others. On top of eventually costing more than necessary by not making routine maintenance repairs, if your car does happen to break down, there is a chance that you could be involved in a preventable car accident. According to the car accident lawyers at Fiedler Deutsch, crashes occur regularly simply due to carelessness. However, if your car experiences catastrophic issues that are out of your hands, and result in injury or even death, you may have a case against the vehicle’s manufacturer. The wrongful death attorneys at Shaw Cowart LLP state that situations in which strict liability comes into play involve those in which the defendant manufactured, distributed, or sold a product that caused the death of someone. Meaning, if the accident could not have been prevented by you, the liability falls on the manufacturer and you could receive a settlement.