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Five Pre-Road Trip Car Maintenance Tasks to Prevent an Accident This Summer

With summer in full swing, you and your family likely have big plans in the form of day trips, flights, or road trips. Before you saddle up for your next day trip or road trip, though, it’s important to maintain your vehicle to prevent a car accident or untimely breakdown. As the adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Performing these vital maintenance tasks before setting out can help keep you and your passengers safe wherever this summer takes you.

1.      Check Your Brakes

Often overutilized and undermaintained, brakes are some of the most important parts of your vehicle. However, many drivers fail to check their brakes until it’s far too late. Leaving brake maintenance too long can put yourself and others in danger. Driving on ineffective pads makes a car accident even more likely to occur. Take your car to a mechanic to check for wear on your brake pads and replace them, if necessary. To ensure they don’t wear down too quickly, allow for extra following distance while driving, brake further back than normal, and don’t brake unless necessary when going downhill or slowing down for traffic.

2.      Fill Your Tires

Tires are a car’s bread and butter and should be treated with care. Keep your tires properly inflated (usually at about 30 psi) for the best fuel economy and to prevent unnecessary wear on the tire’s tread. Speaking of tread, your tires’ tread may need attention. If you haven’t replaced your tires in the last few years, it may be time to do so. Perform the penny test to see if your tires need replacing due to worn tread.

3.      Get an Oil Change

We’ve all been there: pushing the limits of our oil change schedules just to avoid the hassle of taking our vehicle into a mechanic. To prevent a car accident or breakdown on your road trip though, oil changes are absolutely essential. Even if you got an oil change in the last few months, it’s safer to change again than to have dirty oil clogging the engine and ruining your fuel economy. Dirty oil also ejects harmful hydrocarbons out in your emissions.

4.      Top Up Your Fluids

Aside from oil, your car needs several other fluids to function at peak performance. Fill up on windshield wiper fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid before your trip to prevent a car accident or inconvenient breakdown. You can often complete this task on your own, but if you’re unfamiliar with this area of car maintenance or your vehicle has tanks that are difficult to reach, ask a mechanic to help you. This is usually a relatively inexpensive service.

5.      Inflate Your Spare

When was the last time you inflated your spare tire? Do you even have one? Just before a road trip is the perfect time to check. In many vehicles, spares are stored under the base of the trunk or on the back of the vehicle itself. If your spare is reading low, now’s the best time to inflate it as you would a normal tire. Many mechanics or chain tire shops can also provide a spare tire if you don’t have one. Remember: if you need to use a spare on your trip, only use it in accordance with its instructions over short distances. Spares are only meant to get you to the next safe tire shop to replace it with a real tire.

Pack an Emergency Kit in Case of a Car Accident

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, car accidents and breakdowns happen, leaving us in a pinch for supplies. Get ahead of the what-ifs by packing an emergency kit just in case the worst happens. Pack a box with:

  • Jumper cables
  • Jack
  • Basic tools
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Cell phone charger
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Gas container

This is only a basic list, so you’re free to add or modify in accordance with your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I do the penny test?

The penny test is a great way to check how worn your tire tread is. On tire tread, there are grooves that form a pattern, called ribs. Place a penny upside down into the ribs until it touches rubber. Abraham Lincoln’s head should be pointing downward. If Honest Abe’s head is covered, your tread is likely safe. It may be time to replace your tire if you can see all or most of his head. In this case, bring the vehicle to a mechanic for their professional opinion.

What should I do if I get into a car accident?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, prioritize getting medical attention as soon as possible. Damaged vehicles, insurance claims, and lawyers can wait until you or others involved have been seen by a medical professional. Once you’ve seen to the medical needs of all parties, call the police to report the accident and collect the other driver’s insurance information. Using this information, notify your insurance by filing a claim. If you believe you’ve been a victim of a negligent driver and have been injured, you may also have a personal injury claim. Call a car accident lawyer from BD&J to schedule a free consultation about your situation.

How can I prevent car accidents after I’m on the road?

Preventing car accidents on the road is what defensive driving is all about. Practice safe driving skills by providing adequate following distance, not driving distracted, and scanning the road ahead for potential hazards, including erratic drivers.

How to Find a Car Accident Lawyer in California

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence, you may have a personal injury case. Finding a California car accident lawyer doesn’t have to be complicated. BD&J personal injury attorneys can assist you with filing your case anywhere in California. Our team is available 24/7 to discuss your needs. Follow these steps to contact us today.

  1. Collect documentation on your car accident. Keeping photos, journal entries, police reports, and insurance claims to present to your personal injury attorney at BD&J, PC, can help expedite the filing of your claim. 
  2. Contact our personal injury team here. Complete our form to receive a call from one of our team members regarding your potential case. Our lawyers will review the information you provide and begin the process of filing. 
  3. Stay in contact with us. Our personal injury attorneys will be keeping you informed as your claim progresses. However, we empower our clients to participate in their claim and may need to discuss the process with you.  

Protecting Car Accident Victims Across California for Over 20 Years

Whether you’re setting out on a summer road trip or staying local this year, the risk of injury on the road in car accidents, truck collisions, motorcycle accidents, or pedestrian accidents remains ever prevalent. If you’ve been the victim of a car accident due to negligence, our lawyers can help you fight for what you deserve for your short- and long-term care. Contact our team any time day or night to schedule a free consultation!