Road Trip Tire Checklist
Driving a car is a calculated risk. Your car can be dependable and well-maintained with great tires and mechanicals, you can be safety-minded and have your head in the game, but you are still in control of a couple of tons of plastic, steel, rubber and glass traveling at about 80 feet per second. Chances are nothing is going to happen, and obviously you hope it won’t – most people put in their entire years behind the wheel without a serious incident. But if something does happen, you should be ready to handle an emergency. We’re not even talking about something catastrophic like a collision…it could just be a dead battery, a minor mechanical problem or a failed tire. Better to have your car safety supplies and not need them, than to need them and not have them.
- Jump Starters – Nothing’s more disheartening than getting behind the wheel, turning the key and hearing the engine turn too slowly to start (or worse yet, the dreaded clicking sound). Keep some good-quality jumper cables in the car (yes, there is a difference between good ones and cheap ones), or a charged-up jump start box somewhere in the car.
- Tire Safety – Underinflated tires are worse than fuel waters, they’re downright dangerous. Underinflated tires compromise your handling and can overheat and fail at highway speeds. Keep an eye on your inflation levels, and check them once a month at least with a quality tire gauge. Fix-a-Flat products are OK for an emergency, but you’re better off with a compressor/light that plugs into the cigarette lighter and can reinflate a tire in minutes.
- Safety Helpers – Flares, reflective triangles…again, why not keep them on hand?
- Emergency Aids – Things like a roadside strobe, a reflective safety vest, a first aid kit (of course), a quality flashlight (of course) and a rudimentary tool kit can easily fit into a trouble bag in the trunk or cargo area. Even just a decent-quality Leatherman-style multi-tool can make a big difference in a pinch situation.
Play it safe!!!