Public Affairs Manager for northwest Kansas
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and the summer travel season. The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts nearly 43 million Americans will kick off their summer with a holiday getaway with most of them, 37.6 million, traveling by car.
Just like winter, summer weather conditions should be taken into consideration when preparing your vehicle and emergency kit for travel. AAA shares the following summer driving safety tips:
Prepping your car
- Check the tread depth, inflation and overall condition of all your vehicle’s tires (including the spare) at the start of every season. Tread depth can be checked by placing a quarter in the tread with Washington’s head facing down. If you can see the top of his head, it might be time for new tires.
- Check and clean battery terminals. Consider having the battery tested if it is more than three years old.
- Flush your car’s cooling system on a regular basis and make sure coolant levels are topped off. If your car does overheat, do not remove the radiator cap until the engine has cooled down.
- Replace windshield wipers and wiper fluid if needed. Also check transmission and power steering fluids, and ensure brake lights, headlights, turn signals, emergency flashers and interior lights are working.
In case of emergency…
If you already have an emergency kit from winter, now is a good time to do a quick inventory and replace items as needed. If you don’t have a kit, here are some suggested contents:
- Cell phone and charger
- First aid kit
- Flares and a white flag
- Jumper cables
- Tire pressure gauge
- Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire
- Work gloves and a change of clothes
- Basic repair tools and duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak)
- Water and paper towels, or baby wipes for cleaning up
- Nonperishable food, drinking water and medicines
- Extra windshield washer fluid
- Emergency blankets, towels and coats
Ready, set, go!
Now that your car is ready to hit the road, make sure you’re ready too! When planning your route, check out kandrive.org for construction projects that may affect your trip if traveling in Kansas. Once you’re on the road, try to keep distractions to a minimum. If you must make a call or send a text, find a safe place to pull over; never text and drive! Also, be sure to get plenty of rest before your trip to avoid drowsy driving.
And most importantly, buckle up! Here’s to a great summer of adventures!