5 Tips for a Safe Holiday Road Trip
Safety Check List for Your Holiday Road Trip
With Thanksgiving upon us, millions of Americans will hit the road to spend time with relatives and friends. AAA Texas says that 3.4 million Texans will travel during the Thanksgiving holiday period, with most people, about 3.1 million Texans, traveling by car. Jesse Torres, an instructor at Universal Technical Institute-Dallas/Fort Worth, offers a simple, 5-step pre-road trip checklist to help ensure your vehicle’s safety and reliability for holiday travel, while also saving money on gas.
Step 1. Check all fluids including engine oil, power steering, transmission, brake and anti-freeze or coolant, to ensure fluid levels aren’t low. Make sure you get an oil change before you head out on a long road trip.
Step 2. Check all hoses and belts – a belt that fails can harm the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering or cooling system. Make sure your heating and cooling systems are working properly. At freeway speeds, roll up your windows and turn on the air conditioning if you get warm. The drag created by having the windows open reduces gas mileage.
Step 3. Check tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear; get an alignment if needed. You lose up to 2 percent of fuel economy for every pound that your tires are underinflated.
Step 4. Check all exterior and interior lights to make sure no bulbs are burned out and check your windshield wipers to make sure they are working correctly. Make sure your hazard lights work in case of emergency.
Step 5. Check your trunk. While you may have to take luggage on your trip with you, make sure there isn’t anything else like boxes or books that aren’t necessary in your trunk. Any unnecessary additional weight can cut into fuel economy.
With the checklist taking less than 10 minutes to complete, this pre-trip inspection is an easy and effective way to reduce the chance of costly and potentially dangerous road trouble and also helps you spend less on gas during your holiday road trip.
And, as you head out on your trip, remember to accelerate slowly. Rapid acceleration and braking can lower mileage by 33 percent on highways and 5 percent on city streets. Accelerating slowly can save 10 times as much fuel as a jackrabbit start.
If you find a problem that needs further inspection, take your car to a professional automotive technician.
To learn more about Universal Technical Institute-Dallas/Fort Worth, visit www.uti.edu/DFW.