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Prevent and Prepare for Breakdowns on a Road Trip

Road Trip
Road trips are a beloved American tradition, but they have the potential to go wrong. Dropping everything to hit the open road may be exciting, but it could also leave you stranded on the road a thousand miles from home.
Instead of taking that risk, plan ahead to prevent emergency events in the first place. These six tips will minimize your risk of road trip emergencies and prepare you for them if necessary. 

Prepare Your Car for a Long Trip

Your car is responsible for getting you to and fro safely, no matter how far you need to go. That makes your car your most valuable asset on any road trip. You can never guarantee that your car won't hit a nail or start smoking without warning, but you can work to avoid it. By ensuring your car is running in peak condition, you give it the best chance of handling thousands of miles without incident. 
Common causes of trouble on the road include the belts, brakes, battery, coolant hoses, and tires. You may also want to refresh your spark plugs and perform an oil change if those parts are nearing their due dates. Start your journey with a healthy car, and you are much more likely to finish with one. 

Pack for All Weather

Road trips are supposed to be exciting, but Mother Nature sometimes dishes out more excitement than drivers are comfortable with. Especially in the Midwest states, weather changes can be sudden and dramatic. Don't get caught with a flat tire and no umbrella in pouring rain. Be sure you have a variety of clothing accessible to keep you warm and dry in any scenario. 

Bring a Spare Key

Perhaps the most frustrating way to end up stranded in a strange place is locking your key inside the car. This is a surprisingly common issue, but it's easier to deal with when your spare key is a quick drive away. Keep a spare key in your pocket or entrust it to one of your passengers, just in case the first one is somehow lost, stolen, or locked beyond reach. 

Check Your Spare Tire

Before packing away all of your luggage, take a moment to double check that your car's spare tire is both where it should be and in working order. You will also need a car jack, lug wrench, flashlight, and preferably gloves to change a tire safely. Store this equipment, along with a first aid kit and other tools, in an easy-to-access area near the spare tire. 

Keep Phones Charged

In past decades, embarking on a road trip meant having only occasional access to a phone, so you had to choose your calls carefully and walk down the road when a car broke down.
Today, thanks to the luxury of cell phones, professional help is always in your pocket. But if your car dies and your phone has no charge, you may as well be back in the 20th century. Invest in a cell phone charger for your car to keep in touch with the outside world. 

Get to Safety in a Breakdown

If, despite all your efforts, your car still suffers a breakdown, your first priority should be to reach a safe place, preferably to the side of the road. Switch on your emergency lights if possible, and be careful as you exit and move around the vehicle. Flat tires can be replaced on the spot, allowing your car to limp to a nearby shop. A car with a more serious problem should be towed. 
Road trips, though exciting, can also be nerve-wracking and even dangerous. But by planning ahead, you can stay in control of any situation. Protect yourself, your family, and your fellow drivers to help ensure that your road trip is full of nothing but pleasant memories. If you have any questions or are in need of a towing service, give us a call at Hix Wrecker Service Inc. today.