If you are going on a trip during the holidays, you should prepare in advance to ensure that a safe and enjoyable trip. Because people will be flocking to the roads during this period, you should anticipate and prepare for possible issues that could arise such as heavy traffic, car accidents, or car breakdown.
According to a recent survey, as m as 122 million Americans are planning to travel for the holiday season. This is almost a 14% increase versus the same period last year. And more than 60% of them are planning to travel by car.
Whether you are planning to go solo, travel with the family, or go on a road trip with the boys, you need to make sure that your car is ready for the journey. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your vehicle for your holiday adventure:
1. Have your car inspected
Days before you head out, bring your car to your service provider to get an overall checkup and maintenance. Having a professional look over your vehicle would ensure that you get all angles covered. Tell them when you are planning to leave and how far you are going, so they can make sure that your car is ready for the journey. Just set an appointment with us at Skoda servicing and our staff would be glad to assist you with your needs.
This would also be a good time to catch up with any outstanding maintenance service that you may have overlooked due to your busy schedule. Review your car manual and service booklet and coordinate with your service provider accordingly.
2. Check the lights
It may sound simple enough, but this small matter of making sure all your car lights are working could play a key role in ensuring your safety on the road. This is especially true when driving in the dark or when the weather gets damp and misty.
You could also find yourself driving on unfamiliar roads during your trip. Having your high and low beams in good working conditions would be useful in this case. Aside from this, also check your other lights, such as directional signals, brake lights, license plate lights, and flashers.
3. Don’t forget the fluids
Your engine oil, brake and transmission fluids, coolant, and power steering fluid may have been covered in your regular maintenance, but it doesn’t hurt to check once more before you go. Simply check under the hood of the car and see if there are any leaks. Get your engine oil changed if it is nearing the recommended schedule, or if the schedule will overlap with your trip.
4. Change your tires
If you are going somewhere with really low temperatures or the forecasts predict heavy snowfall, you want to consider getting winter tires. Aside from the tread pattern, the compound and construction of winter tires are better suited for icy roads than all-season tires.
Winter tires have a better grip on the road which prevents skidding if the floor gets slippery, or in case you unexpectedly run over a patch of ice. The rubber also remains soft and flexible even in freezing temperatures, unlike all-season tires that could harden because of the cold, which affects their performance.
5. Make sure the brakes and heater are working
Roads can get more slippery than usual during winter. This makes your brakes even more important than ever before, though this is not to say they are not important during other times of the year. This just means that the risk of getting into accidents is much higher, so having your brakes in top condition is at least one load off your mind when you want to focus on driving.
When you test your brakes, do a quick check on your heater as well. While this does not really affect your safety, it has a lot to do with your comfort, especially if you are planning to travel long distances.
6. Bring an emergency kit
After getting your vehicle thoroughly checked and prepped for your trip, there’s one last thing you need to examine, and that’s your emergency kit. This is a must for every vehicle even on regular days, but sometimes it has been in the trunk for too long that we even forget it exists.
So, before you head out, get your kit out and see if the contents are still working and usable. Replace broken and expired items and get additional stuff you may need for a long trip. A few must-haves in an emergency kit are jumper cables, an inflated spare tire wrench and jack, a multipurpose toolset, and reflective triangles. Since it’s winter, you should also bring tools like a shovel or snow brush, as well as windshield washer fluid.
You may also want to bring emergency supplies for yourself and your companions while on the road. Drinking water, first aid kit, car charger, warm clothing, extra blankets, and car chargers for your mobile phones.