Oh, that wonderful feeling of spring is in the air, and that means summer is not far away! With that comes summer vacations – those wonderful road trips that take you to great destinations, lovely warm weather and a little time to relax!
Before you head out, take the time to make sure your vehicle is road worthy and that you are ready for summer travel. First and foremost, seatbelts save lives.
Properly restrain children
Riding in a child safety seat is natural for younger children today, but it’s important to ensure that the child safety seat is properly secured to restrict seat movement in a collision. Be sure to use the lower anchors and tethers to ensure that straps are tightened.
Modern cars have anchors tucked into the gap where the bottom rear seat cushion and the seat belt meet – run the bottom latch strap through the back of the child safety seat, click the anchors into place and tighten the strap. The base of the seat should not wiggle or move more than an inch in any direction. Don’t forget to top latch strap – it goes under or over the rear seat headrest, and clicks into place using the anchor located behind the seat. Tighten this strap, too.
If you’re unable to secure the child safety seat so it doesn’t move an inch in any direction, or if you own an older vehicle that doesn’t have latch anchors, thread the rear three-point seat belt through the child safety seat back and click it into place. Be sure to tighten the belt to remove as much slack and restrict as much child seat movement as possible.
Maintain your vehicle
Most of us are a little indifferent when it comes to vehicle maintenance, but before you take a long road trip in your car, get it inspected by a qualified mechanic. The last thing you want during your road trip is a break down.
At the minimum, change the oil and oil filter, top off your washing fluid, make sure your tires have enough tread and be sure they are set to the proper pressure. If it’s been a while, it’s not a bad idea to get new wiper blades, flush the coolant system and maybe replace the engine’s belts and hoses.
Make sure all your vehicle’s lights work – cycle through the headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, hazard flashers and reversing lights. Get the air conditioning system checked, too. It’s a good idea, as well, to carry an emergency roadside assistance kit with you. In spite of the best-laid plans, your vehicle could still break down or something could happen. Last but not least, be sure to watch out for other people, trucks and motorcyclists. We all share these great roads together, so let’s do all we can to make sure we watch out for each other!