How to make your car road-trip ready
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With the chance to enjoy scenic highways, jaw-dropping national and state parks, cool small towns, and mid-size cities, the ‘great American road trip’ is one of our favorite warm-weather rituals.
Are you ready? Not so fast. Many American families hit the road on vacation, but not all are fully prepared for the various speed bumps, road blocks, or detours road trip travelers may encounter along the way.
The top reasons for roadside emergencies are fairly predictable, and can often be solved quickly or avoided entirely with a tiny bit of pre-trip prep. Here’s how to ensure your next road trip goes off without a hitch.
Give your car a checkup
You know the drill: Schedule a maintenance checkup in advance of your trip. Check the oil, fluid levels, battery, and tires. Make sure you have air in your spare tire. Sure, this seems obvious, but chances are you haven't done it yet, right?
Carry an emergency kit
Auto science is not rocket science: Pack a flashlight (with fresh batteries and backups), a first-aid kit, a basic tool kit (including tire-pressure gauge and adjustable wrench), windshield wiper fluid, jumper cables, and emergency flares or reflectors.
Don’t forget a mobile phone with a charger that can be plugged into the car, as well as drinking water and snacks for people and pets.
Do you have an emergency kit in your car?
Don't get locked out
Carry extra car keys, take a moment to grab your keys before exiting the car, and check the batteries on keyless-entry remotes and smart keys and keep them protected from water and other hazards.
Some drivers establish consistent car-key habits. For instance: Always store keys in the same place, say the word ‘keys’ out loud before leaving your vehicle, and change batteries on remotes at the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time.
Check your auto insurance policy
Make sure to have a printed copy of your car insurance policy and that you're up to date on payments. No one wants to get in an accident far from home without proper insurance. You could save 15 percent or more on car insurance by switching to GEICO.
Carefully crafted collaboratively between GEICO and Lonely Planet. Both parties provided research and curated content to produce this story. We disclose when information isn’t ours.
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