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Summer driving tips

You're going to need to pack more than beach supplies for that summer road trip.

Arms of a driver steering a car

During the hot summer months, it is important to remember to make sure vehicles are properly maintained and equipped with roadside emergency supplies to help keep families safe. Before logging all those miles:

Beat the heat

Inspect the radiator, pressure cap, belts, and hoses to make sure they are in good shape with no signs of blisters, cracks, or cuts in the rubber. You may also want to check out these other tips to protect your car from sun damage.

Hydrate your vehicle

Check fluid levels: brake, automatic transmission, power steering, windshield washer and coolant. Make sure each reservoir is full and if you see any sign of fluid leakage, take your vehicle in to be serviced.

Road trip check up

Before any longer trip, any time of year, remember to give your vehicle a check-up and make fixes yourself:

  • Check the air pressure in all tires, including the spare,
  • Make sure the wiper blades are functioning properly,
  • Check battery life and inspect batteries and battery cables,
  • Inspect brake pads and linings for wear; change the oil and filter according to manufacturer's service interval specifications, and
  • Test the headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and interior lights

Pack an emergency kit

Move the beach gear over for the roadside emergency kit. Even if you've prepared your vehicle for summer travel, it never hurts to have a "just in case" kit in your trunk. Your emergency kit should include:

  • Jumper cables in case you or someone else needs a jump start
  • Flashlight
  • Emergency flat tire repair and/or spare tire
  • Gloves, blankets and towels
  • Hazard triangle, road flares, brightly colored distress sign, or "Help" or "Call Police" flag
  • Screwdrivers and wrenches
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Water for both the car radiator and your family
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food

Traveling with kids

  • Always use proper safety restraints for all occupants
  • Use the long drive as teaching moments about safe driving
  • Pack a cooler with healthy snacks like water, fruit, nuts and granola
  • Stop every few hours to let the kids stretch their legs
  • Adults should take the time to exit the vehicle and stretch too. If you become drowsy, don't hesitate to pull over to a safe location and rest until you feel able to continue the drive
  • Use electronic devices to help keep away the boredom on the long drives, as long as its not distracting to the driver

Make sure to check and stock trunk supplies twice a year and remember never leave on a road trip with your vehicle's "check engine light" or "malfunction indicator light" lit up. If you take these precautions, you and your vehicle might be happier on the roads this summer. And don't forget to have fun!

Check out additional driving, maintenance and car insurance articles.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.



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