If you’re going to be one of the millions of Americans hitting the road in the next few days for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend — 2.6 million Floridians alone by the AAA’s count — don’t let the pavement grind you down with a problem.
First, we urge all drivers to drive sober. To us, that is a must.
But before you get on the road, the AAA also recommends the following to make the road a little smoother.
• Check your tire pressure and tread. Inspect all four tires and the spare. Look for cuts, gouges or sidewall bulges. Check the tire tread by inserting a quarter upside-down between the tread. If you can still see the top of George Washington’s head, you need new tires. Check your tire pressure before driving and inflate to the manufacturer’s specifications.
• Listen to and feel the brakes. If you hear a grinding sound or feel a vibration when applying the brakes, get them inspected by a professional.
• Secure and test the battery. Have a service professional check your vehicle’s battery to determine the remaining capacity. Ensure the cable connections are clean and tight and the hardware is secure.
• Top off the engine oil and other fluids, such as coolant, brake, transmission and power steering.
• Check belts and hoses. Replace belts that are cracked, glazed or frayed. As a general rule, drive belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles. Radiator hoses should not leak or be worn, brittle or excessively soft.
• Replenish emergency kit supplies. Kits should include a cell phone charger, car battery booster cables, flashlight and extra batteries, first-aid supplies, drinking water, non-perishable snacks for people and pets, emergency flares or reflectors, rain poncho, basic tool kit, duct tape, gloves and shop rags or paper towels.
AAA anticipates receiving more than 368,000 calls for roadside assistance during the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays. Following these tips may help you from becoming one of those folks stuck with their family on the side of the road.