Here's how to stay safe on your summer road trip
With kids out of school, summer is the perfect time for a family trip. To save money, many families will be bypassing the airport and hitting the road. In fact, according to a survey by TripAdvisor, 70 percent of those traveling this past Memorial Day, got there by car. A separate survey by Harris Interactive revealed that Americans plan on racking up an average of 1,172 miles in leisure driving over the next three months. If your summer vacation travel starts in the car, Farm Bureau Financial Services offers these tips to help you prepare.
Essentials for the Car
Traveling smart means traveling safe. Pack your car with nonperishable food, water, a first-aid kit, blanket and flashlight. In an emergency, these items could save your life or the life of another motorist. It is also important to keep a set of jumper cables in your vehicle.
Emergency Contact Information
Keep emergency names and numbers handy. If you have a cell phone, enter your emergency contacts under the acronym ICE ("in case of emergency"), so paramedics, firefighters, police officers or hospital personnel can contact your next of kin to obtain important medical information. Also leave key contact information and detailed trip information with friends or family at home.
Proof of Insurance
Carry proof of auto insurance, car registration and your driver's license at all times. In the event of an accident or traffic stop, you will need this information. Farm Bureau Financial Services customers can keep their agent's contact information at the ready with the My FBFS iApp. The app comes complete with a travel game to ward off boredom, a gas mileage tracker and more.
Keep routine vehicle maintenance such as oil changes, fluid levels and tire pressure up to date. This will keep a minor setback from becoming a major roadblock during your trip. About a week before you go, have a mechanic perform a full safety inspection on your car, including checking belts, hoses and battery, which will give you time to make any needed repairs.
Just because everything was working when you put your RV or trailer in storage doesn't mean it is now. So just like your vehicle, you will want to check tires, batteries, connections, latches, propane tanks, fire extinguisher and water system, especially if it's been a while since you've used it. Also, now's a good time to make sure your recreational vehicle coverage is up to date on all your toys, especially if you've added a motorcycle, ATV or boat in the off season. Talk to your Farm Bureau agent to learn more.
One of the most common travel issues is locking your keys in the vehicle. To avoid headaches and expense, take a spare set of keys and be sure to keep them where they won't accidentally be locked in the car. Consider adding emergency roadside assistance coverage to your car insurance policy, which can cover both emergency towing and services like jump-starts, flat-tire fixes, fuel delivery and lockouts.
Get the Best Gas Mileage
Fuel can be the biggest expense of your trip. To squeeze more miles out of every tank, drive the speed limit. Higher speeds increase wind resistance and reduce your engine's efficiency. Also, check the sticker on your doorjamb for the recommended pounds per square inch (psi) and keep your tires properly inflated.