Are you ready for your road trip?

roadtrip
Get ready for that road trip.

(MCT) -- August is to the time of year when Americans pack the car, head on down the road and unwind for a bit of rest and relaxation. Nevertheless, being prepared for a road trip could make the difference between a vacation you'll always remember and one you'll want to forget. So before you hit the highway, here are a few things to consider.

YOUR VEHICLE

-A few days before leaving, have all of the systems checked, including tires, belts, brakes, air conditioning, battery, wipers and cooling system.

-Make sure your vehicle's spare tire is properly inflated and usable.

-Clean the car thoroughly, inside and out. Don't have the time? A professional car detailer will make your ride sparkle.

-Pack an emergency road kit, including jumper cables, road flares and a first aid kit. Don't have one? They're readily available at auto parts stores.

-If your car is old or has high mileage, consider renting a vehicle instead.

ENTERTAIN YOURSELF

-Wile away the hours with a tablet, CDs, DVDs, MP3 player, satellite radio or audio books.

ENTERTAIN YOUR CHILDREN

-Along with your children's favorite toys and books, take along a goodie bag to reward good behavior.

-Of course, a portable DVD player or tablet will also keep them happy.

-Pack pillows and blankets for naps, and a bit of peace and quiet.

FOR THOSE AT HOME

-Make sure that someone has a trip itinerary, so people can find you in an emergency.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS

-This may sound obvious, but don't forget your driver's license, vehicle registration and auto and medical insurance cards.

-And of course, you are taking a mobile phone with car charger, right?

PACKING THE CAR

-Place heavier items as close as possible to the center of the vehicle.

-Secure loose items so they don't hit passengers during a panic stop.

-Remember, you might need access to the spare tire.

-Don't overload your ride as this can lead to unsafe handling. The maximum load capacity for your car, truck or SUV is listed in the owner's manual.

-Using a navigation system? Enter destinations ahead of time. If you're old school, and still using road maps, stack them in order of use.

AND FINALLY

-It's a good idea to carry a spare set of vehicle keys.

-Bring along your doctor's phone number and any prescriptions that might be needed.

With a little forethought, your vacation can be hassle free.

---

ABOUT THE WRITER

Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in Virginia Beach, Va. He may be reached at ljprintz(at)gmail.com.

---

(c)2014 Larry Printz

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Continue Reading