Did you know that our nationwide network of highways is actually called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways? The system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who championed its formation. Construction was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, and the original portion was completed 35 years later, although some urban routes were cancelled and never built.
Before all the highways were built people weaved their way through towns and farmlands on narrow roads, and long distance trips took far more time than they do today. Many families choose road trips over air travel for their summer vacations and pack the car, truck, or camper because they enjoy the sights, but it is prudent to be properly prepared.
Some of the things you’ll want to think about before you embark on your trip involve a thorough mechanical check of your vehicle, your car insurance, and your health insurance.
Hopefully you have a regular maintenance schedule for your car and stick to it, but even if you do it’s a good idea to double check the things that are most likely to cause problems on the road.
Overheating – Hoses, radiator, water pump, anything involving the coolant system should be inspected. Breaking down on a hot highway in the middle of July can ruin any vacation.
Belts – This is a big one. Most modern cars have one or two belts that run all the various systems: cooling, steering, electrical, and more. If your belts are worn, replace them.
Tires – Make sure your tires are properly inflated and the tread is not worn. Check your spare and make sure you have a jack that works in case you have a flat and need to change it.
Loading your car – Heavy loads should be packed in the center and low. Loading heavy items near the top, especially in a van or SUV can make the vehicle top-heavy and possibly more likely to tip over. If you use a roof rack, keep the same in mind, don’t overload. Always load according to manufacturers specifications.
Car Insurance – Call your insurance company or your agent and make sure you are up-to-date on payments and fully covered. If your roadside assistance is tied to your insurance make sure it will cover you if you’re far from home in the middle of nowhere and that your coverage includes long-distance towing.
Health Insurance – Chances are you’ll be out-of-network for your trip so keep in mind that medical emergencies don’t care where you are when they happen. Also, make sure you have an adequate supply of prescription medications with you, or have the ability to refill if needed.
Focus on the Road – We understand that people get excited when vacation time comes, and people tend to throw caution to the wind, but please stay focused on the road. Don’t text while you drive or stare at the GPS. Never, ever drink and drive. Look after your car, take care of details, and pay attention to the road ahead of you and you’ll have a vacation to remember forever.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus works with people who have been injured in accidents, including many who have accidents on vacation. If you have questions about accidents, insurance, or anything else related to driving-related injuries please call us at 954-356-0006 and have a safe summer.