Avoid Accidents and Breakdowns on Long-Holiday Weekends
Long holiday weekends make for fun road trips. Remember, the roads will be congested, and weather conditions may worsen. This increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident. Breakdowns also happen because the traffic may move slowly. The following tips should help prepare you in advance, and improve your chances of making that trip safely.
Checking Your Vehicle
Keeping a vehicle in tip-top condition is one way to help avoid accidents or breakdowns along your path. Perform regular maintenance such as an oil change, replacing filters and having the tires rotated. This helps tires wear evenly and is something that all drivers should do.
Just before your trip out of town, you need to do more than fill the gas tank. Perform a visual check on the tires for excessive wear and signs or rot or bulges. The old trick of placing a penny in the tread works. If you can spot the top of Lincoln’s head, your tires are worn too thin. If the tires look bad, have them replaced. A blowout on the highway can cause an accident with serious injuries. Check fluid levels, including those for the oil, coolant, windshield washer, transmission and power steering.
Packing Your Emergency Road Kit
Besides bringing along snacks and bottled water, you need to think ahead about what you might need if your vehicle breaks down or you face an emergency on the road. Following are some items that might come in handy:
- A first-aid kit: Nonprescription drugs, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, an elastic bandage, sterile gauze, and tape, along with a first-aid manual, are good things to bring along. You can also purchase a first-aid kit that already has the necessary, but hopefully unneeded, items in it.
- Fire extinguisher: You probably have at least one in your home, and carrying one in the trunk of your car is a good idea. If you decide to take one from your house or apartment, double check that it hasn’t expired. If it has, purchase a new one. It may protect you or your loved one from burn injuries if your vehicle catches on fire.
- A white piece of cloth: Tie the material to your door handle or aerial if you break down. This tells police officers that you have an emergency and need help.
- Flares or road triangles: If your vehicle does break down or you are involved in a crash, use flares, reflectors or road triangles to warn other drivers and help avoid an additional collision. Put the hood of your car up, if possible, put emergency flashers on and place the flares, reflectors or triangles at least 10 feet behind your vehicle.
- Cell phone: Having at least one cell phone along is important so you can call for help. Make sure it is charged before leaving your home.
- Flashlight: Flashlights are handy to do emergency repairs under the hood or if your mishap occurs after dark.
- Jumper cables: Carrying jumper cables can help get your car back on the road if you have a problem with the battery. The mini cables can also be used to power your GPS, tablet or smartphone in a pinch.
- Foam sealant: Most newer vehicles don’t carry a spare tire anymore. Small punctures can be fixed temporarily with foam sealant, at least long enough to get you to a gas station. Anything larger, you need to phone for help.
- Keep a safe driving distance behind the vehicle ahead of you.
- Don’t speed.
- Avoid distracted driving. Let someone else in the car handle changing the radio station or reading the GPS directions.
- Keep an eye on the vehicles ahead for brake lights, dangerous drivers or slowdowns.
- Slow down if the weather turns bad.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before to avoid drowsy driving.
Sacramento Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. I hope that your holiday trips get you and your family to your destination safely so you can enjoy your time away from home. However, if you are injured in an accident caused by negligence, I have friendly and free advice to offer you. Phone me at (916) 921-6400 here in Sacramento or at (800) 404-5400 if you are outside the area.
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Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/road-car-motion-vehicle-auto-1610959/
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