Lots of us drive in the summer.  Often, we’re driving with our children, other family, and friends with us as well.  North Carolina has a wide variety of options for vacations, whether you love the beach, the mountains, or something in between, but chances are you’re going to have drive a few hours to get where you’re going.  Interstates are a bad place to discover that you need new brake pads or that your tires are under-inflated or over-inflated.  

Even with a new vehicle, it’s a good idea to check over the basics before you hit the road.  Most cars now have self-monitoring systems that can tell you if there is a problem, from tire pressure to oil levels.  Still, it’s a good idea to check those things yourself.  If you’ve owned your car for a year and you can’t remember the last time you had any maintenance done, it’s probably a good time to have a mechanic give it a once-over.  If you’re involved in a wreck because you failed to properly maintain your vehicle, you could be held at fault for others’ injuries, and you could be barred from recovering from your own injuries as well.

Check your tires, brakes, levels for your oil and other fluids, your air filter, air conditioner coolant, windshield wipers and fluid, and the condition of your vehicle’s lights (including tail lights, turn-signals, and interior lighting.) If you have a spare tire, check it as well to make sure the inflation is correct.  Be aware that some newer vehicles do not include a spare tire, but have a repair and inflation kit, or simply may depend on you to supply one separately. Also, before you hit the highway, make sure your vehicle inspection is up-to-date, and that you have copies of your registration and automobile insurance card in your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to contact your automobile insurance carrier and review your coverage, both to make sure you are well-protected, and to make sure your payments are current.  When packing your vehicle, don’t overload it, and don’t block your rear windows or other lines of sight, as you could be setting yourself up for a collision.

It’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit, including basic first aid supplies, road flares, a blanket, and gallon or two of drinking water in case you break down far from help.  Make sure you owner’s manual is handy as well.  If you don’t have one or lost it, you can download many online, or you may be able to get one from a dealership.  By taking care of your own vehicle, you can free your mind to focus on getting safely to your destination. If you or a loved one is injured in an incident on the highway, contact the lawyers at the Miller Law Group to see if you have a claim.  In the meantime, have a fun and safe vacation!