NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you’re planning to head out of town this weekend you aren’t alone! In terms of travel, this 4th of July is gearing up to be a record setter.
According to AAA Texas, some 3.4 million Texans will travel 50 miles or more this Independence Day holiday, which is the highest number since AAA started tracking 18 years ago.
With record breaking heat and a record number of travelers on the road starting today, Daniel Armbruster, with AAA Texas, has some advice on how not to find yourself stranded on the side of the road.
It’s recommended that you take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility for maintenance before you leave and there are a few areas you should focus on. “Heat can cause damage to several parts under the hood,” Armbruster said. “You can easily see your belts and hoses, you want to check that and make sure that hose doesn’t have any cracking in it and make sure it’s tightened on there.”
Oil changes, fluid level checks and battery tests go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown. Armbruster suggests you, “Make sure you check your battery terminal. Make sure there’s no corrosion on there… the fluid inside the terminal can leak and that can cause corrosion due to heat damage. If your battery is over three years old you need to have it check by a licensed mechanic.”
Drivers venturing out for a summertime road trip shouldn’t just focus on what’s under the hood. It’s important to also pay attention to where the rubber meets the road. Driving on under-inflated tires can affect handling and braking. Low tires also have a stronger likelihood of overheating (in any type weather), increasing the chance of a blowout.
And just as you would have an ice scraper and blanket in your car during winter, it’s important to have lots of water and non-perishable food items in your summertime vehicle emergency kit. “If you have kids, or pets, or extra visitors with you in the car you want to make sure you have enough for everyone, because if your car goes out or your a/c goes out, it’s 100-degrees in Texas and you need the water,” said Armbruster.
There is good news for anyone planning to get behind the wheel to get to their destination. Gasoline prices have fallen this week. As of June 28, the average price at the pump in Texas was $2.65 per gallon. The price nationally is a bit higher at $2.85 a gallon.
Across the country some 39 million Americans are planning to take a Fourth of July road trip and experts are predicting travel times in major metropolitan areas could be twice as long than the normal trip.