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Summer Road Trip Checklist: How to Stay Safe and Save Money

July 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 147

It's high season for the highway: It's projected that more than 42 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more leading up to the Fourth of July. That estimation was almost five percent higher than last year's, and the highest it's been in 10 years. If you're planning to hit the road this summer, here are some road trip tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe and save money during your travels.

Good News: Gas Prices Down

While the roads may be more crowded than last summer, the good news is that gas prices are down in most states. The average retail price of gas in Connecticut fell 4.9 cents per gallon during the week of June 18, while the national average fell 7.9 cents per gallon during that same period, according to gasoline price website

Planning Ahead - You can avoid a lot of problems and stress on the road by planning ahead and preparing your vehicle. Here's what to do before you pull out of the driveway:

  • Paperwork: Make sure the vehicle's registration and insurance are up to date, and keep the paperwork in the glove compartment.
  • Clean: Clean out your vehicle to create more room and reduce the overall weight to improve gas mileage.
  • Directions: Know your route and length of trip. If you're using a GPS, pre-program your destination's address into the unit and make sure the GPS can find the location. Print out a hard copy of the directions - both there and back - in case the GPS malfunctions. It also doesn't hurt to have a highway map of the states you are driving through.
  • Supplies: Expect the best, but be prepared for the worst. Pack a first aid kit, car jack, spare tire, reflective jacket, torch and fire extinguisher.
  • Snacks: Purchase a cooler and fill it with ice, bottles of water, and healthy snacks that can be eaten easily on the road, such as apples, bananas and sandwiches. This will save you time and money on the road. Avoid junk food and sugary drinks - it will make you tired and sluggish while driving.
  • Children: If traveling with young children, make sure they have some easily accessible items to make their trip more comfortable, such as a favorite stuffed animal, music player, electronic game and books. Caution them not to read or play their game too much in a moving vehicle or they may get car sick.
  • Pets: If you're driving with pets, be sure to have enough water and pet food on hand, and never leave an animal in a hot car unattended. Heat stroke can kill pets quickly. If your dog or cat is small enough, keep them in a pet carrier. For larger dogs, consider buying a harness and securing them with a seat belt in the back seat.
  • Packing: Place heavier luggage at the bottom of the trunk first, with lighter bags on top. Make sure all items are tightly packed and secured, so nothing can fly forward in the vehicle in case you stop short. Keep luggage below window level for a clear line of sight out the back of the vehicle.

Summerize Your Vehicle - Just as you "winterize" your car or truck for the cold weather, summerize it for the hot weather. Here's a pre-road trip vehicle checklist:

  • Fluids: Top off all fluids to the manufacturer's recommended levels. If the vehicle is due for an oil change, get it done before you leave. Have the engine coolant filled with 50/50 coolant - 50 percent water and 50 percent coolant. This will help the engine run cooler and more efficiently in hot weather.
  • Tires: Check that the treads are not too worn down. Driving on bald tires is particularly dangerous in the summer because of the high temperature of the roads. Worn tires also mean a greater risk of hydroplaning on wet roads. Make sure all four tires are filled to the proper pounds/square inch - that's 32 PSI on most mid-sized cars, but check the wall of the tire for your vehicle's proper PSI. This will help tire wear and help save on gas consumption.
  • Air conditioning: Most new vehicle's A/C systems run off the electrical system, which can be a heavy load on the alternator. Have a mechanic check that your vehicle's electrical system is running efficiently.
  • Make sure all lights are in working order, windows are clean and the windshield wipers are working properly.
  • Gas: Fill up before you leave: You never know when you may get stuck in a traffic jam with no gas station near.

On the Highway - And here are some common sense reminders for when you're out there on the road:

  • Drive the speed limit. Driving at or just under the posted speed limit is a good idea for several reasons. In case something happens on the road, such as a car stopping short in front of you, it will give you If you're at the posted speed limit, or under, it gives you a little more time to react.
  • Never text while driving and use a hands-free device if you must talk on your phone. Avoid other distractions as well and use extra caution when going through construction zones.
  • Safety: To avoid fatigue on the road, stop about every two hours to stretch and move around. If driving far, stop at a motel at the halfway point and get some sleep. Booking ahead online can save you money and reduce stress. As an added safety measure, tell a friend or relative your plans and approximate time of arrival before you leave, and check in with them when you arrive.

Santo and Lynda Silvestro purchased Hoyt Livery in 1987. Throughout the years, they have created the Hoyt Experience... first-rate service beyond your expectations... from the moment you make your initial reservation until the time you reach your final destination.

Hoyt Livery is dedicated to on-the-go business professionals and today's savvy leisure travelers. Find out why people throughout Fairfield County are saying "Hoyt's Here." Visit Hoyt Livery's website at to learn more.

Source: EzineArticles
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