Ahhh, the family holiday trip. I remember many a night in the back of the family station wagon, the hum of the tires and the regular flashing of city streetlights on our twice-yearly trips to New York to visit our family. As much as I loved the family trips they certainly were not without incident or stress for my parents. I remember one year my sister’s suitcase blew off the roof of the family wagon, and I remember a story from the family lore of at least two destroyed rims on the freeway in a Pugeot which meant that parts were totally unavailable. Safe travel is a hugely important topic for most of us in the winter.
A common point of worry for drivers is safety for long trips to visit family out of town. While nothing can mitigate all risk, there are a lot of things you can do to help ensure your trip is safe, worry free and successful. In today’s blog I will go over the key steps for safe driving on holiday travels.
The first and most important thing to do before a trip is to have a certified technician with an established and thorough inspection process check over your car. You can not have safe travel in an unsafe automobile! We do this at Pro Auto for 49$ for most cars. We check all the lights, battery, alternator, tires, brakes, suspension, exhaust, filters, fluids, and check for leaks. While this is not a troubleshooting process, it is a very, very thorough vehicle inspection and we will catch most of the concerns that can be found. No inspection, no matter how in depth, can predict every future failure, but we will catch most upcoming issues. We use a tablet-based system so we take photos for you and email and text them to you. You don’t have to be here to see what is recommended on your car. We will build an itemized parts and labor estimate for any work we recommend, and we will also email and text that to you. We call this a Digital Vehicle Inspection, or DVI and I will blog about that again soon!
Plan Your Trip
A little planning goes a long way. Will you be traveling at night? Will it be cold, or can you expect winter weather? Planning allows you the opportunity to expect the unexpected and be prepared. If you’re driving an EV (electric vehicle) you must plan for charging stops, and if you’re driving a rare car or a Euro it may be wise to have some knowledge of repair shops on the way. A great resource for locating repair shops is to look for NAPA Auto Care Centers, Tech-Net Centers or ProVantage approved network centers. These groups are collections of independent shops that have an agreement with nationwide networks to offer nationwide warranties and standards for customer care.
Stock for the trip
Travelling in winter weather? Consider a bag of rock salt, a small shovel, blankets and snacks in the emergency roadside kit. Hot weather travel? Ensure you have sunglasses, sunscreen and extra bottled water in the event of an emergency. For nighttime travel be sure you have flares and warning triangles in the event of a breakdown. Ensure washer fluid is topped off, the air pressure is set in the tires and that your preventative maintenance is all up to date. Get ahead of the game and get your device chargers all set before you travel so you can buy high-quality low-cost cord off of the internet instead of paying the super high gas station prices.
Enjoy your trip
When you drive, take your time to enjoy the travel! Drive safely, don’t follow too closely and most importantly arrive safely at your destination and enjoy your holiday!
ASE Master Tech, L1, L2, L3
Owner of Pro Auto