This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). All opinions are 100% mine.
Before you travel this summer, make sure that your car is ready to go safely! Before any road trip, NHTSA recommends preventative maintenance, checking for vehicle safety recalls, going over your vehicle safety checklist, and packing a roadside emergency kit.
Keep reading to learn what should be in a roadside emergency kit and grab a free printable roadside emergency kit checklist!
How to Prepare Your Car for Summer Driving
Summer is almost here and that means that a lot of families will be on the road! When the seasons change, it’s always a good idea to make sure your car is in safe condition — whether you’re planning a road trip or staying close to home.
Our family always sticks to NHTSA recommendations when it comes to prepping our car for summer or travel. Those include:
- Getting your car serviced
- Checking for vehicle safety recalls
- Reviewing your vehicle safety checklist
We also check our car seats to make sure they’re correctly installed and are properly secure!
What is NHTSA?
The U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is tasked with keeping us all safe on America’s roadways. NHTSA strives to make the roads safer by:
- Providing consumer education
- Reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses from motor vehicle crashes
Free Resource: Click here to see all of NHTSA’s Summer Driving Tips!
6 Car Repairs You Shouldn’t Skip
One of the things NHTSA highly recommends is following your manufacturer’s schedule for vehicle maintenance and service checks.
If you keep up with the manufacturer’s service recommendations for your vehicle, it should already be in good condition to drive.
These services seem minor, but they’re important to keep your car in running order!
Be sure not to skip the following services when they’re due:
- Oil changes
- Battery checks
- Tire rotations
- Fluid checks and flushes
- Check for vehicle safety recalls
If it’s been a while since your vehicle’s last service or you don’t know the service history, schedule a preventative maintenance checkup with your dealer or mechanic BEFORE you travel.
In addition to keeping your family safe, keeping up with regular maintenance will save you money in the long run because it can help prevent breakdowns. Those breakdowns usually end up being way more expensive than a simple checkup!
What Should be in a Roadside Emergency Kit?
Despite our best intentions, life happens. Even a new car or a well-maintained car can break down. That’s why it’s important to carry an emergency roadside kit with you on all trips, especially for long-distance travel.
Here’s what NHSTA recommends packing in your roadside emergency kit:
- Cell phone — This is perhaps the most important item to have with you, as it allows you to call for help in an emergency. Make sure your phone is fully charged before long trips, just in case you end up with a dead car battery and can’t use your charger.
- Cell phone charger — It’s always a good idea to charge your phone before leaving the house, but a car charger is handy to have on hand.
- First aid kit — There are pre-made first aid kits you can purchase, or you can put one together yourself like we did with this soccer first aid kit.
- Flashlight — Packing a hand-crank flashlight means you don’t have to worry about dead batteries!
- Jumper cables — Never leave home without these! I know this from experience!
- Tire pressure gauge — With temperature changes, tire pressure can change too, so it’s important to make sure they’re properly filled.
- Car jack — This is essential in case you ever need to change a tire and can’t get to a repair shop.
- Basic tool kit — For small repairs, tire changes, etc.
- Paper towels — Whether for spills inside the car, or cleaning hands after checking the engine, paper towels are a must-have in any car emergency kit!
- Work gloves — Hand protection is essential should you need to make repairs or change a tire.
- Water — Pack both drinking water, as well as a jug that can be used for mixing with coolant in an emergency.
- Duct tape — Always handy!
- Basic medicine — This might include allergy medicine, ibuprofen, etc.
- White flag or cloth — For signaling or increasing visibility if you break down.
- Flares — In case of a nighttime breakdown, flares are a must for letting other vehicles see that you’re there.
- Windshield wiper fluid — A dirty windshield is a safety hazard, so be sure to have plenty of fluid in case you need to refill.
These items may also be helpful to keep on hand, depending on the season and the length of your trip:
- Paper maps
- Non-perishable food
- Spare coats
- Change of clothes
Here’s a printable copy of this Roadside Emergency Kit checklist that you can keep handy:
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Before You Go…
Always always always buckle up! Every trip…every time! You can be the safest driver on the road, but you can’t control other peoples’ actions.
Don’t take a chance — buckle up every rider in your car, no matter how short the trip!