Preparing for that Summer road trip? Here’s what you need to know…
About 16 years ago my son and I took a trip up to Colorado during one of the coldest times of the year. We witnessed some beautiful scenery with amazing pines, mountains and of course, snow. Now because I was born in San Antonio, I’m all about the snow as it’s not something I see every day. However, on this particular day I was not all that thrilled about the snow.
So away we go down the highway with snow and ice covering the roads and visibility down to a few car lengths. Traffic was moving pretty well but while one moment everything was fine, the next we were on a death ride along a mountain side with a blown tire and a bent rim. Don’t you just love road trips?
I was immediately able to get over to the side of the road and pull over along with everyone else that appeared to have the same issue. The culprit to my near demise (and David’s too) was a large section of a drive shaft that came off a tour bus ahead. We were the second vehicle to unfortunately run over it. Just following us another 4-5 cars proceeded to hit it as well. While I knew we had a spare in the back I was slowly starting to realize that I had never changed a tire on my Nissan Pathfinder. With the snow coming down and the temperature hovering in the teens, myself and 2 highway patrol officers stood there trying to figure out how to get the spare released from underneath. David chose the smart and warm route and decided to stay in the truck. If traffic had been moving at all I would have taken him out to get him away from the vehicle and possible rear end collision.
It took us no less than 20 minutes just to figure out how to release the spare from its strange location. At that very moment I realized “I am not prepared for this road trip”. Hind sight is 20/20 as they say. I should have planned for the uncertainties of life and prepared for the unexpected. I had no essentials in my vehicle to help us in the event of a long stay. Fortunately the police and support vehicles were nearby on that stretch of the highway and available immediately. They had road flares and other essentials necessary during a situation like this. Within an hour we were a little frozen but David and I once again were back on the road with a “great” story to tell.
So 16 years later and quite a few road trips behind me I’m ready to share some thoughts. Do yourself and your family a favor and don’t leave home without these essentials:
Tire tools, roadside protection plan, gas buddy app.(finds the best prices on fuel nearby), flashlight, small assortment of tools (including duct tape , electrical tape, zip ties, screw drivers, vice grips, pliers, road flares, a can of fix a flat, jumper cables, bottled water, info on how to remove spare from vehicle, lol. Overall system check for family safety, fluids topped off and a fresh oil change wouldn’t hurt. Verify that your state inspection and tag are current. Make sure your auto insurance is up to date and that you have a copy in hand. Some authorities may not accept a version from your phone.
Most likely you’re not just wandering the roadways, you have a destination planned, but do you have a specific route planned? It never hurts to have possible fuel, food and rest stops lined out along the way. If you do… awesome, you’re ready! If you don’t, take a little time to do so and you’ll save yourself some stress if an incident occurs. Be sure to get plenty as accidents are more likely to occur when you are driving tired. Try to get a solid understanding of the route you’re taking as an accident is more likely to occur in unfamiliar territory. Take the time to plan your trip so the experience winds up being everything you hope for. Last but not least, buckle up your family and enjoy the ride.
See you next time!
Always trying to stay local,
David (Big Red) Gorman