By Frank Canna
It’s summer, time to pack up the family and head out on the open road for that good old fashion summer vacation. Whether your destination is only a few hours away or hundreds of miles from home, the fact is; you want your road trip to be as safe and trouble free as possible.
In order to have everything go smoothly, there are a few things you should think about well in advance of your trip. For starters, you should make sure your vehicle is up to the task. It’s a good idea to schedule an oil change and have the belts, hoses, and fluid levels checked ahead of time. Proper tire pressure is also very important, especially to insure optimum fuel mileage. And don’t forget about those wiper blades. They are much easier to replace at home in your driveway, rather than out there on the highway in a rainstorm. Checking and replacing any burned out operating lights is also something to take care of ahead of time. And finally, cleaning up your car before you leave will make your adventure that much more enjoyable, especially when the windows are clean and free of smudges and smears. After all, good driving visibility is a must and there is nothing worse than dirty windows when you’re trying to enjoy the scenic views of your summertime vacation.
What to pack? Well, food and drinks are a must, especially plenty of water. Why not take along a cooler packed full with your favorite fruits, snacks and cold drinks. Actually, water is always the best drink to take along in your car. In case of a spill, water is basically no problem compared to the stains left behind by grape, orange and cola beverages. And it doesn’t hurt to cover your seats with oversized towels or small blankets. Think about it. Towels and blankets are a lot easier to throw in the washer when you get back home, rather than having to clean your seats.
Maps and high tech GPS devices can really help to make your road trip a lot less stressful. In fact, it is much more enjoyable knowing you don’t have to worry about getting lost and wasting valuable time and gas. And don’t underestimate the value of those websites that offer up ‘real-time’ traffic reports. The trick is to check in with those websites weeks in advance of your trip. That way you can take note of the traffic pattern during the times and days of the week similar to your own future travel plans. For example, the website www.I95highway.com can show you the ‘real time’ traffic at any hour of the day around the Baltimore, Washington DC area. It’s also a good idea to print out a copy of your exact route along with highway numbers, rest areas and restaurants. Plan to do that ahead of time and you will simplify things once you are out on the highway.
You will find there are plenty of websites that offer valuable, up to date information about the highways you will be traveling, such as; tolls, construction zones and rest areas. Many of these sites even provide information about restaurants and local attractions. Always plan to do your homework ahead of time so you will be prepared before you get out there on the highway. Remember, the goal is to arrive at your destination safely. And whatever you can do ahead of time will make your vacation road trip that much more enjoyable for yourself and your family.
I would just like to add a few additional thoughts. Sometimes it can become a bit of a challenge driving on unfamiliar high speed interstate highways. The key is to be always drive smoothly and blend in with the flow of traffic. Like they say; go with the flow. Driving too slow on an interstate highway can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. Another tip is to always keep a safe following distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. And the best advice when traveling the interstates is to always look as far up the highway as possible. Think about it. At speeds of 65 and 70 mph things can happen in a hurry. And the more time you have to react, the better. And above all else, sit back and enjoy the ride!
Frank Canna has been in the detailing business for more than 20 years and is the owner of Mirror Finish Detailing, Williamstown, NJ.