As we are entering the summer driving season, there are a number of steps you can do to help you avoid a problem on the road. As personal injury attorneys, we are here to help those seriously injured in car accidents, but it is our goal to help drivers avoid accidents and problems. The following is a list of the top five ways to prevent a problem and what to do in the event you have a car accident, vehicle defect or engine trouble while driving.
- Check your battery. According to the AAA, one of the top reasons motorist need help is due to a dead battery. To avoid an unwanted problem, particularly if your battery is more than three years old, have it checked at a local repair shop to make sure its strong enough to last for your trip. In addition to the car’s battery, make sure your cell-phone battery is charged, as you can’t charge a phone battery off of a dead car battery.
- Keep a flashlight in your vehicle. This will be an invaluable tool in the event you have a problem after dark. With the advances in technology, there are now many flashlights which can also double as a phone charger. As the prices have come down, there is no reason not to keep a flashlight in your glovebox.
- Check your tires, including your spare. In addition to checking each tire’s pressure to make sure it meets the manufacturers’ specifications, you should also check the depth of the tire’s treads. Anyone can easily use a penny to accomplish the tread check. Experts say that if you stand a penny in your tire’s tread, and part of President Lincoln’s head is covered, that is an indication that the tire’s tread depth is safe.
- Check the car’s fluid levels. Many owners think the only time their vehicle’s fluids should be checked is when the car goes in for service. But when you are about to take a long distance road trip, it is important to check your car’s oil, coolant and windshield washer fluids. If you notice any of your vehicle’s fluid levels are low, top them off. Adding a quart of oil before your trip begins can have long-term benefits to you and your vehicle.
- Keep flares or reflectors in your car. While no one expects to find themselves stranded along a road, keeping things like flares or reflectors, for those who don’t want to temp a child with a flare, is a prudent precaution. Reflectors help other drivers more easily see that you are stopped and have a problem. Not only will that visibility help prevent you from being involved in a car accident; it may cause another driver to stop and render assistance.
This list is by no means all inclusive, as drivers should consider their own situations when planning a road trip. Other planning may include putting a cooler of food and drinks in the car in case you become stranded. Remember, a little forethought and personal responsibility can help prevent an inconvenience from turning into an event which ruins your vacation.