08 Jan Holiday travel-safety tips
Holiday travel-safe driving tips
Inspect your vehicle
There are some simple checks that you can do before you take off on a long trip that will make your trip safer and more pleasant. Taking a little time to check out your vehicle and prepare can save you hours and money on the road.
Check all tires
The time to check your tire pressure is before you get out of your driveway. A hot tire has an elevated tire pressure reading. Even traveling for as little as a mile, your tire gauge reading could be inaccurate. . On a cold tire use a tire pressure gauge to read your pressure. When checking your tire or filling your tires with air hold the gauge straight and push against the tire valve. A dirty or clogged tire valve can cause a leakage, so be sure to inspect your tire valve. Occasionally, it may be necessary to replace the valve completely.
Checking your tire pressure of filling your tires should be a silent process. If you hear air escaping through the valve stem you are probably not pushing hard enough on the valve stem. Be sure to check the pressure in your spare also. You do not want to have flat on the road, only to discover that your spare is flat also.
Never bleed your tires when on a trip as hot tiers will not give an accurate tire pressure reading Tire pressure can increase as much as 15-20%in hot weather and can take 3-4 hours to cool.
Although your tire has the maximum pressure for the maximum load for that tire written on the tire itself, a more optimal pressure will be found in your owner’s manual, or on a strip on the inside of the driver’s door. These pressures are taking into account your vehicle and its weight in order to ensure a smoother ride. If you are loading you’re your car with heavy luggage or extra passengers, you may want to add a little extra air. At truck tire is turning 450 times per minute and a passenger tire is turning at 850 per minute as you travel down the highway. Too little air can lead to cord fatigue and breakage, can waste energy through heat, or cause a sloppy road feel. Too much pressure can cause poor shock absorption, change the foot print of your tire which can reduce traction. You should check your tire pressure once a week. A car can lose up to a pound of pressure in a week; a truck tire up to 2 pounds. Air escapes from your tires by leaking from between the bead and the wheel, through dirty or iced valve stems, or more frequently through the tire itself. As the tire heats up the rubber expands so that air can escape through the rubber tire. It is important to keep your tires clean, have a good cap on the valve, replace the valve stem when damaged and check tires frequently in hot weather for leakage.
Check all tires for wear. If your tread wear indicator (a band across your tire that is the first place to be void of any tread as your tire wears) is bare, it is time to replace your tires. If you have balding spots, uneven wear, worn tread,, stone or metal stuck in the tires, or a dirty, cracked or missing top on your valve stem, you need to do some maintenance on your tires. You may need to replace them completely. Regular rotation of your tires causes your ties to wear more evenly and extends the life of your tires. At the service center they will rotate your front right tire to the back left and your front left tire to the back right. This will cause your tires to wear more evenly, as your front end tends to wear tires out at different points and can easily be out of balance. If you have a wobbly feel or hear a “whooping” sound coming from your tires, it may be something as simple as a missing weight, or a tire out of balance. Your service center will put weights on your tires to balance them and cause them to turn in a more rounded pattern. These can be knocked loose, or come off and need to be replaced. This is a simple fix, but an important one.
Prepare for anything that may come up by packing an emergency kit for the road. These should include by not be limited to, the following:
- Roadside flares
- A first-aid kit
- Work gloves or latex gloves
- Two quart of oil
- Jumper cables
- One gallon of antifreeze
- Brake fluid
- Extra fuses
- A blanket
- A flashlight with fresh batteries
- A Phillips head screwdriver
- A flat head screwdriver
- Vise grips
- An adjustable wrench
- A pair of pliers
- A tire inflator
- A tire pressure gauge
- Some rags and a funnel
- A roll of duct tape
- A roll of paper towels
- A spray bottle with washer fluid
- An ice scraper
- An AAA or roadside emergency card
- Triangle reflectors and flares
- A pocket knife
- Bottled water
- For winter driving you may want to add additional clothing
- Hand warmers
- High-calorie snacks
- Space saver blankets