Summer Road Trip Safety Checklist
“’Tis a privilege to live in Colorado.” – Frederick G. Bonfils
It’s been more than a century since Frederick G. Bonfils, one of the founders of the Denver Post, coined that phrase. The sentiment still holds true today — particularly in summer, when the state’s residents take to the roads to explore its high mountains, raft its rivers, surf its sand dunes, sample its county fairs, ogle its oddities, and more.
Summer road trips can be the perfect antidote to the daily grind. They can also be a bit of a grind themselves, a series of misadventures involving too much traffic, too many detours, too much sun, and other unpleasant surprises, including car trouble.
But a little preparation can help smooth the road ahead. Here are some tips that can help make your journey more privilege than problem.
How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip
Today’s vehicles generally require less maintenance than ever before. But that doesn’t mean you can approach an odyssey of several hundred miles like it was a trip to the grocery store.
Take a few minutes to look under the hood and check the basic necessities for summer driving:
The fastest way to a breakdown. Is the pressure cap on firmly? No signs of leaks? Coolant level topped off? No cracks in belts or hoses? Good.
Check oil, brake, transmission, power steering — and while you’re at it, window washing fluid, too. And, uh, gas. If you’re overdue for an oil change or an air filter, get that taken care of before you start.
General safety inspection.
You can do this yourself, or take the car to a service station, but it makes sense to take a good look at the tires (tread wear and air pressure), brakes (any screeching or other signs that pads might need replacement?), lights, wipers, and battery (corrosion?) before hitting the highway.
Essential supplies and emergency kit.
No overnight trip in sunny, semi-arid Colorado should be undertaken without plenty of water, sunscreen, high-energy snacks, extra clothing and hats on board. Your emergency kit should include basic tools (jumper cables, screwdriver, etc.), cell phone and charger, flashlight, and first-aid supplies.
How to Prepare Yourself
One key to success for any road warrior is to manage your expectations.
Don’t schedule more sights than you can see in a reasonable amount of time. Build in a cushion for possible road work delays and other interruptions. The Colorado Department of Transportation’s Travel Center can assist you in scouting road conditions.
Plan a route and a backup route. Make a point to get off the interstate and see some of Colorado’s scenic byways. Call ahead to the tourist bureau of places you want to visit and find out the best day of the week and the best time of day to beat the crowds.
If your plans include a brush with nature, be sure you have maps, navigational tools (your phone may not have signal in national parks), food, water, bug repellent, extra layers of clothing, and other essential gear.
Even a short day hike can be filled with surprises, given the unpredictable weather in Colorado’s high country. Review the basic survival tips every hiker should know, such as notifying others of your trip plans and not starting a high-country trail too late in the day.
After the Trip
It’s not a bad idea, after putting all those miles on the family chariot, to go through your car maintenance checklist again to make sure oil, tire pressure, and the rest are still okay.
Schedule any needed vehicle maintenance and a car wash before returning to the workaday world, memories and photos intact.
Denver Car Accident Attorneys At FDAzar
For more than thirty five years the car accident lawyers at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. We are proud of our approach; we commit attorneys to cases, not paralegals. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorney at FDAzar day or night at 855.637.1268 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.