The Summer Road Trip Checklist

You have shut down your computer and locked your office. Now it is time to put work out of your mind as you get away on a much-needed summer holiday. Before you toss the kids in the car and drive off, it is important to make sure you are prepared for the road ahead. You do not want to be caught out by car trouble.

A travel checklist needs to be more than a list of things to pack; you need to make sure your car is safe for the long drive.

Before you start checking the car, make sure your car licence has not expired. Next, you need to check when your car was last serviced. If it is due, then take it to the mechanic before you do anything else.

The following checklist is a rundown of what needs to be in good order to ensure a safe trip. You should check:

• Oil level
• Water level
• Clutch fluid
• Brake fluid
• Battery
• Windscreen spray water
• Windscreen blades
• Anti-freeze
• Tyre tread (Minimum of 1.6mm)
• Tyre pressure (Loading the car affects the required pressure.)
• The pressure and condition of the spare tyre
• Jack and wheel spanner
• Lights

It is also a good idea to stock your car with the following:

• Basic tool set
• Duct tape and cable ties
• Warning triangle and reflective vest
• Tow rope
• Emergency tyre weld
• Foot pump
• Fuses for lights
• Jumper cables
• Emergency flare
• First aid kit
• Fire extinguisher
• Torch

If you are towing a trailer or caravan, it also needs to be checked for roadworthiness and needs to have on reflective tape.

During the summer holidays, the roads get congested and there is an increase in the number of accidents. It would be wise to check your car insurance before you leave. Much like personal travel insurance, it is well worth the effort to find specialised car insurance for travel. Some things to consider are:

• Does your insurance cover emergency breakdown assistance as well as accidents?
• Do you get a replacement vehicle to use on holiday if yours is in an accident?
• Does your insurance cover vehicle recovery and towing?

Remember to carry with you the details of your insurance company and the phone number of the contact person.

If you are travelling in Europe, be aware that there are some new laws regarding what you need to have in your vehicle. For example, you need a warning triangle, reflective vests and spare bulbs.

You will also be thankful for a few personal items to make the trip more pleasant. Pack in sunblock and sunglasses, along with enough water and snacks for the ride. A road trip would not be a road trip without some memory-making music and, if you have children, do not forget to bring along some entertainment to keep them busy. Be sure to plan your route and pack in a map or GPS. Taking along a set of spare car keys may also be handy.

Lastly, relax, have fun and remember your passport.

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