Summer is upon us and if you are planning a trip, a little advance planning can go a long way toward making your vacation safe and fun for everyone involved. Having the right auto insurance can help you stress less too.
Here are some tips to keep you organized and prepared for whatever may come your way.
- Use a checklist: I swear I packed my charger… We all hate that feeling of forgetting something, to avoid leaving any essentials at home, create a list a few weeks before you are headed out of town. As you get closer to your departure date you can add things and then when you are packing a few days before leaving you can cross off the items on the list as you put them in your luggage.
- Make extra space: Avoid the temptation to fill your vehicle up to the roof. This will obstruct your view in your rearview mirror and severely limit your visibility. Think about using a rooftop cargo box or a hitch-mounted cargo carrier to create extra storage space.
- Keep your pets safe: Is your dog coming with you? If so, use a pet carrier or harness device to keep them safe while driving. Don’t forget to pack a portable water bowl and some extra food for rest stops.
Know Your Route
- Use a GPS: Before you leave, enter all your destinations into your vehicle’s GPS system or a mobile navigation app. This will give you real-time updates on travel time and save you from searching for addresses at the last minute.
- Plan for traffic: Living in the Midwest, especially in the Chicagoland area, construction delays are expected. Driving through major cities, especially during rush hour traffic, can add hours to your itinerary. Know where congestion is possible and plan to travel during off-peak hours. Mobile navigation apps like Google Maps or Waze can help by predicting traffic time and suggesting alternate routes if you get stuck.
- Bring a map: Even though you haven’t used one in ages, keeping a road map in the car is always a good idea. With an old-school paper map, you don’t have to worry about losing your GPS signal or running out of battery. If you have kids, they may get a kick out of tracking your travels.
- Skip the toll booth: If you are traveling on the tollway, consider ordering an electronic transponder like I-Pass. Using an electronic toll system allows you to skip the cash lanes and pay lower fares. If you already have a toll pass, make sure your credit card information is up to date so you can reload your device when it runs low.
Prepare Your Vehicle
- Schedule an inspection: When scheduling a multi-point inspection at your dealership or your go-to mechanic, this is a great way to get a snapshot of your vehicle’s overall condition. A trained mechanic can let you know of any maintenance issues to fix before they get worse (or more expensive).
- Check your tires: Before leaving on your road trip, inspect the condition of your tires and inflate them to the pressure recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. If your tires are low on the tread, you should replace them before heading out. You can check by using the “penny test.” Just insert a penny upside down into the tread groove. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it is time for new tires.
- Change your oil: Road trips rack up miles on your car in the span of just a few days. Look ahead to preventative maintenance, like oil changes, that may come due while you are traveling. Taking care of this before you leave is not only good for your car, but also for peace of mind, too.
- Top off fluids: You should not wait until your windshield is covered with bugs to find out you are out of wash fluid. Before you start your road trip, check all your vehicle’s fluid levels. That includes windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, brake fluid, oil and power steering fluid.
Be Ready For Anything
- Do your research: Sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way toward getting you out of unexpected situations. Do you know how to jump start a dead battery or what to do if your car overheats? Study up before heading out on the road. Give your independent insurance agent, like R.C. Keller & Company, a call to get your insurance carrier’s emergency roadside service phone number.
- Check your emergency kit: If you find yourself stranded, a well-stocked emergency kit could help you get back on the road quickly and safely. Pre-assembled kits are available to purchase, or you can use this guide to assemble your own emergency kit.
- Organize your glovebox: If you happen to get into an accident, we hope you don’t, it is always nice to have your documents at your fingertips. Make sure you have an updated insurance ID card.
Take A Break
- Make regular stops: While you may think eliminating stops can help you get to your destination quicker; it is not the most enjoyable to travel. Stopping to take a short break every few hours will give everyone a chance to stretch their legs and help you stay more alert behind the wheel.
- Pack healthy snacks: Chips, chocolate and pop is every kid’s dream meal. To avoid sugar highs after every rest stop and gas fill-up, pack a small cooler filled with bottled water, cereal bars, fruits and veggies. You should also avoid salty foods or sugary drinks that may actually make your thirsty or heavy food that can make you tired.
- Find ways to pass the time: “How much longer?” “Are we there yet?” If you are traveling with your children, check out these ideas to keep them occupied.
Protect What Matters Most
When it comes to packing for your road trip, we know the people you travel with are your most important cargo. That is why R.C. Keller & Company is here – to help make sure everyone is protected.
Whether you are taking an epic road trip or just going across town, we’ve got you covered. Give one of our insurance specialists a call at 847-907-4520 to discuss all of your insurance needs. They can help with your home insurance, auto insurance and business insurance needs.