You’re sailing down I-35 with your beach vacation on your mind. Your kids are in the back, everyone quiet and content with their devices in-hand. You watch the road as the setting Texas sun cracks like a yolk over the horizon. The heat is finally letting up, and you feel like a million dollars…
There’s a loud “bang!” and a billow of smoke rushes past the windows. Everyone in the car jumps and looks outside as your car sputters and slows down. Faces planted to every window from inside the car, it’s all anyone can do to faintly make out the side of the road as you pull over.
Why couldn’t this have happened on the way HOME from vacation??
Did you know that the average age of a car in the U.S. is 11.4 years? Even with a car much newer than average, stuff can go wrong…HORRIBLY wrong! And, wouldn’t you know it…it’s just your luck that it can go wrong when you’re on vacation.
There are a lot of precautions you can take if you’re traveling by car this summer, and obviously keeping your car fine-tuned is the basic tenet that could ultimately save you head and heartache on the road! But, inevitably, something might happen. The heat could get to be too much and your car could cop out. There could be a monstrous construction scene that delays you so much that you spend an extra night in a motel. You could be rear-ended. Flat tires just happen. Or, the very road could jump up off the earth.
Not all of it can be foreseen, and not all of it is in your control!
So, how do you prepare?
There are lots of things we recommend to keep in your “roadside emergency kit” that we guarantee wouldn’t occur to you automatically! Can you imagine keeping gloves, for example, in the truck of your car with this summer heat? We mean glove to protect your hands during auto work, of course!
The point is that this might require a little imagination. But we’re taking some of the guesswork out so you can get ready to hit the road worry-free, because summer vacation is already here!!
The #1 thing to think about
You know your car. Maybe the transmission is on its way out, or maybe it burns engine oil too quickly. According to the AAA, one third of drivers will experience being stranded on the roadside at some point this year, and there are a few all-too-common reasons behind it.
If your car doesn’t have any particular quirks or is otherwise in good shape, you can prepare for the most common culprits that the AAA says people pull over for. Particularly in the Texas summer sun, that includes:
- Engine overheating
- Flat tires
- A dead battery
- Running out of gas
Planning for these common vacation-spoilers requires a few key artifacts, and a whole lot of positive attitude. These particular pitfalls can be made less of a nightmare if you remember to store in your trunk:
- Engine coolant
- A spare tire
- Jumper cables
- A portable gas can
OK…and how can I be really, REALLY prepared?
So maybe some of those things seemed a little obvious! But…even if they are, do you have each of them in your car right now?
Summer fun can be bitterly spoiled if you don’t plan ahead for the little things that make that big difference, so don’t stop at these roadside emergency basics! There are some other more “out of the box” items to think about that could turn a roadside break down into just another part of the vacation!
- Gloves (not the winter kind!)
- A little bit of cash (including bills and change, think about rest stops and vending!)
- Nonperishable snacks (let’s face it, breakdowns can make anyone hangry…)
- A rain poncho (be sure it has a hood!)
- Safety vest (for visibility at night)
- A jack and a lug wrench (imagine having a spare tire but not these!)
- Some magazines, a deck of cards or other entertainment
What about store-bought kits?
You can save yourself the work of putting a roadside kit together by buying one ready-made from the store! Just be sure to look at the list of components to check for those key things that will keep you and your family happy if a breakdown happens on vacation this summer!
These kits commonly have the nuts and bolts (literally) that will make an auto fix easier, but if you’re less confident about your know-how to identify the problem and correct it if a breakdown happens, say, at night, plan on keeping your manual with the kit in the trunk.
Keep your priorities straight
Thinking ahead means outlining your priorities on the road. First, you want to get where you’re going, and get there safely. Next, in the case of a roadside mishap, you want to make sure everyone’s as comfortable as possible…including if that means stashing a deck of cards in your emergency kit with a camp light so you can still entertain the kids after cellphone batteries die!
With your basic needs met and the tools to keep everyone safe and get back on the road as soon as possible, your vacation doesn’t have to be spoiled by a breakdown this summer. In fact, you can make almost any unexpected roadside stop nothing more than a change of pace on a fabulous vacation!
Have other roadside emergency kit tips? What came in handy at your last breakdown? What would have come in handy?
To read more, check this article out.
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