Memorial Day weekend officially kicked off what’s known as the summer driving months. Or, if you live in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, or Northeast, it’s called construction season.
Anyhow, an estimated 31 million drivers took to the open road during the holiday weekend, but approximately 250,000 had to call AAA for help, reports the roadside assistance provider. Apparently, they either all had flat tires, or they didn’t read the list we published of things to look for before heading on vacation.
AAA has an acronym of its own to help ensure you get where you’re going: S.A.F.E.T.R.I.P.
That stands for:
- Service your battery. If you see corrosion–usually a whitish powder around the terminals–get it looked at to make sure it’s not going bad.
- Air conditioning check.
- Fluids for windshield and wipers. We can only think that if you’re heading out into a swamp and wipe out an entire colony of bugs, you’ll need to be able to clean them off.
- Emergency roadside kit. A flashlight, good jack, phone, some snacks, and water should all be no-brainers on a long trip.
- Tire inflation and condition. Make sure your car’s tire pressure matches the factory specifications–usually found on a little sticker in one of the door jambs. Also, make sure your tires aren’t too worn to be safe.
- Regular maintenance. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Find a mechanic you trust to look at your car, in and out.
- Inspect under the hood for safe belts, hoses, and fluids. Rubber has a tendency to crack over time. Fluids can leak, which can cause overheating or engine seizing in the case of oil. All of them are bad and can be prevented with regular maintenance.
- Prepare and plan ahead. This includes everything from checking for road construction ahead of time to having a place to sleep so you don’t drive drowsy. AAA recommends having a designated caller/texter passenger to avoid distracted driving and stop every 100 miles or two hours for a quick break.