Road Trip: AAA advice on hitting the road safely this summer

road tripDon’t be one of the millions of motorists stranded on the roadside this summer road trip season when you should be vacationing instead.

To help ensure that you aren’t stranded, in need of rescue by a roadside assistance provider, AAA is offering a checklist for getting prepared for the road.

“The best way to avoid a breakdown during a (road) trip is to ensure your car is properly maintained before hitting the road,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s Managing Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “But unexpected breakdowns can still occur.”

AAA recommends that you: service your battery; check your air conditioning; check windshield washer/wiper fluids; inspect under the hood – belts, hoses and fluids – and check tire condition. If you are going on a long trip, you also will want to check most of these things along the way.

AAA alone expects to “assist nearly 1.6 million motorists with dead batteries this summer,” replacing more than a half-million batteries at the roadside.

“Summer heat breaks down car batteries internally and accelerates the rate of corrosion on the terminals,” according to the roadside assistance provider. “Both conditions can lead to insufficient electrical power being available and leave a motorist stranded without warning.”

But plenty can be accomplished before your summer road trip to help ensure you don’t get stuck.

“If it’s almost time for scheduled maintenance, have your car serviced before a (road) trip,” advises AAA, which estimates that 3.5 million drivers will suffer significant troubles and need towing to a place of repair. “If it has been some time since the vehicle last saw the inside of a repair shop, consider having it thoroughly inspected by a qualified technician who can identify potential problems before they put a damper on any travel plans.”

Among the final admonitions for summer road trips include preparing and planning ahead: “Chart out driving routes and, when possible, reserve your accommodations in advance,” suggests the travel adviser. “Be prepared for busy roads during the popular travel times and, if possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid traffic.”

AAA also suggests motorists “assign a passenger as the designated texter/caller to avoid distracted driving. [And] allow plenty of time to reach their destinations.”

And last, but not least, motorists are advised to carry along an emergency roadside kit, which, according to AAA, the American Automobile Association, “should include a mobile phone and car charger; a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.”

And don’t miss our infographic, “Road Trip’d,” which highlights the “Top 10 fun facts for summer,” on The Open Road at

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