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November 25, 2020

If you’re planning a road trip, a little pre-planning goes a long way toward making your journey pleasant and safe. Before you head out on the road, take the time to go through this travel checklist to be sure you’ve covered all the bases.

A. Car Safety Checklist

- Check the fluids

Check the oil, and top up if necessary. Better yet, have an oil change if you’re traveling any long distances. When adding oil, always use the weight recommended for your vehicle.

- Check all your belts for wear, cracking or tears. Have any that show signs of wear replaced.

- Check the wiper blades. If it’s been a year or more since they’ve been replaced, do it. Trying to peer through smeared raindrops is a recipe for disaster.

- Check your tires. Make sure that they’re inflated to recommended PSI, and that the tread isn’t dangerously worn.

B. Emergency Kit

Being prepared in an emergency can spell the difference between inconvenience and tragedy. You can purchase a roadside emergency kit with most of these items in it then add to it, or put together one of your own from scratch. In either case, keep all the items together and easily accessible so that you’ll be able to get to them if you need them.

- A flashlight is a must – most experts suggest two. Do yourself a favor and opt for the best LED flashlight you can find. LED lights tend to be far more durable and can take being knocked around in the boot of your car. They draw less power from the battery, so are less likely to run out of juice just when you need them most. A handheld torch and a lantern are both good ideas. Tossing a couple of inexpensive LED penlight flashlights in the glove can prove handy for map reading and lighting the way to the john if needed.

- A first aid kit is another must. A prepackaged one with bandages, gauze, tape, antibiotic, antiseptic and other basic first aid necessities should be fine.

- Emergency roadside flares can save your life by making you easy to see from a distance. Standard roadside flares can fail to work if they’re damp, and can be dangerous. A number of companies make LED safety lights and roadside LED safety flares that can mark your position on the road shoulder, or serve as an emergency beacon if you’re lost.

- A multi-tool or utility knife will come in handy. A fixed blade hunting knife and pocket knife will give you all the cutting edges you need for most emergency situations.

- Aerosol tire sealant can get you to the next service station in the event of a tire puncture.

- A blanket to wrap up in if need be.

- Jumper cables

- Bottled water

- An extra gallon of engine coolant. While you’re at it, tuck away an extra quart of oil and a pint of transmission fluid.

C. First Aid Kit

- Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin tablets

- Antihistamine

- Anti-nausea/motion sickness medication

- band-aids and gauze

D. Health and Comfort

- Pack a cooler of healthy snacks, juices and water and keep it stocked.

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