Margaret Pittelkow: One of the fastest ways to put the breaks on a great summer vacation is having to deal with an emergency, but by planning ahead and being prepared, travelers can minimize risk and enjoy the open road. AAA offers these precautionary tips to travel safely this summer.
Before any long trip, inspect your vehicle or have it checked by an automotive technician before hitting the road. Do at least one check for uneven or excessive tread wear before you leave, and make sure all tires including the spare are inflated properly.
Check the coolant level and condition of the engine oil. If you're driving under extreme conditions, like hot weather or pulling a trailer, consider using oil with a higher viscosity. If you are uncomfortable doing any of these checks, see an automotive technician you trust to do so.
In case of an emergency it's important to plan ahead. Carry an emergency kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, warning devices, such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit and extra water.
Plan out your driving route and reserve all accommodations in advance. Don't let your gas get below the quarter of the tank. You never know when the nearest gas station maybe closed.
Stay safe while driving by securing children and adults using child safety seats, booster seats or seat belts as required by law. With just a little bit of preparation and planning, you can enjoy a safe and fun summer vacation.