Tips for Safe Travel this Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year-with an expected 36 million people traveling (31.8 million by car), according to AAA. With so many people on the roads this weekend, the team at Altman & Altman would like to remind you to take some proper precautions to keep you and your family safe while on the road.

One of the most important things you can do to avoid a hiccup during your travel is to plan and prepare ahead of time. AAA, RepairPal and pulled together a list of helpful tips that we’d like to pass along to you.

1. Take a test run: Take your car for a test drive-ride up and down hills to check your brakes, and check that the little things like: the A/C is working to full capacity; the windows, door locks and handles are all functioning; and blinkers and lights all work.

2. Get a check-up: Regular maintenance is the key to ensuring your car will run properly and will last. Additionally, taking your car in for its yearly check-up can help identify small problems before they manifest into larger ones that end up costing you thousands in repairs, or could lead to inconvenient and unexpected breakdowns during your trip. If you suspect your car is due for a check-up or if you’re traveling a long distance, it’s always advised to visit your mechanic for a tune-up.

3. Read carefully: While many of us let our car manuals sit in the glove compartment to collect dust, it’s important to get familiar with it before taking off for any long distance trip. Knowing what the dashboard signals mean, should they turn on, will help you identify what’s wrong and knowing those signals can prepare you for what to do.

4. Beat the heat: The Department of Transportation has noted that excessive temperatures can wreak havoc on vehicles-engines can overheat, breaks and tires may wear out more quickly than normal, and high temperatures can severely damage electrical, battery and cooling systems. If you notice your car becoming too hot, pull over and allow it to cool down.

5. Keep your kids (and pets) cool: While the temperatures in New England aren’t expected to be too high this weekend, it is still important to remember for this summer, that this is the season where children and pets are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness and fatalities. Protect your children from heatstroke by never leaving them unattended in vehicles. On hotter days, pack water, popsicles and icepacks in case they get too warm. For pets, while in certain temperatures it is safe to leave the window down for some ventilation for a short period of time-it’s never a good idea to bring your pet out with you when the heat is high. Cars heat up exponentially when they are not being air conditioned, putting your pet at risk for a fatal injury.

6. Plan ahead: prior to departure, plan your trip by mapping your route, researching guidelines and where there will be rest stops, food and gas stations. Make copies of your insurance as well as your roadside assistance cards, in case you misplace them during your trip. Also be sure that you’ve packed extra chargers for your cell phone or have a car charger on hand, a first-aid kid, as well as the proper mechanical tools, should you get a flat tire.

Traveling on the road while there the traffic volume is high can put you at a greater risk for being involved in an accident, but taking the proper planning precautions can save time, as well as reduce the chance that you might have a setback while on the road.


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