A checklist before you hit the road Labor Day weekend

Many of us will hit the road for Labor Day weekend, and then travel again at Thanksgiving and over the holiday season. But many of us are ill-prepared when it comes to having our car equipped for handling the unexpected.

According to a recent survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance, almost half (45 percent)  don’t check that proper emergency items are in the car such as flash lights or jumper cables and 1/3 admit to not keeping a cell phone charger in their vehicle.

Chip Wade doing a tire check

Chip Wade doing a tire

The following are tips from Chip Wade of HGTV’s The Elbow Room and Ellen’s Design Challenge. He’s teamed up with Liberty Mutual Insurance to provide tips for maintaining your vehicle, and other ways to keep your family save on the road.

Prepare for the Unexpected: A recent Liberty Mutual Insurance study showed that only 22 percent of Americans ensure they have a roadside assistance number on hand (such as AAA; Liberty Mutual Insurance offers a program) before embarking on a road trip.  It’s important not only to have this number saved in your cell phone but to also have it handy in the glove compartment.  In case your cell phone dies on the road, do you have a charger in your car?

Having an emergency kit is a must.   A kit should include: a flashlight, first aid supplies, jumper cables and car jack just in case of a break down or other unforeseen issue. (These are items you likely already have in your home already)

First Aid kit

First Aid kit

Yellow FlashlightPhone ChargerMulti Purpose Knife

set of cables to starting the car engine

set of cables to starting the car engine

Don’t Forget the Spare Tire: According to the Liberty Mutual report only 28 percent of people check tire pressure in a spare tire. Imagine learning your spare doesn’t have air after you get a flat!  A quick look each time you head out on a long trip could save you a major headache.

Get Under the Hood: It’s easier to DIY basic auto safety than you might think.  Refer to your owners-manual to find out basic guidelines on everything from checking the engine oil level to the windshield wiper fluid to the tire pressure including your spare.  These are simple steps that could save you headaches on the road and can easily be done in your driveway or at a gas station.

Security Made Simple: There are several easy ways to make your house more secure while traveling.  These include adding motion detecting outdoor lights, trimming hedges to create less hiding spots or adding protective devices such as burglar alarms which could even lead to savings on home insurance. In addition, make it look like someone is home by stopping mail delivery, leaving a car parked in driveway and putting timers on lights.

Staycation Sanity: If you choose a DIY project for your time off, do your research ahead of time and have all the materials ready before getting started.  One thing to remember, if you’re working outside and the house is empty, don’t forget to lock up as a burglar could easily slip in and out of the house while you are not paying attention.

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