September is National Preparedness Month and the government wants you to take a moment to imagine the worst case scenario. OK, catastrophizing isn’t much fun, but making a contingency plan should disaster strike could save you a lot of stress at the very least. A good place to start? Prepping your vehicle for an emergency escape…
The Car Care Council recommends checking the following to ensure your car is ready to roll at a moment’s notice:
Tire Tread: Without tire tread your car will have trouble gripping the road – not ideal in an adverse weather situation – so make sure it’s thick enough to do the job.
Tire pressure: If your tire pressure is too low or too high it can play havoc with your gas mileage, tread wear and vehicle performance. Check the PSI (pounds per square inch) number located on the driver door or in the owner’s manual to find out where it should be.
Fluids Check: This should be on your list of regular checks anyway, but make sure you keep oil and coolant fluids topped off and consult an expert if you think you might have a leak.
Belts: Check for excessive wear or slackness. If the belt snaps you’re not going very far.
Brakes: Get your breaks inspected by a professional to make sure they’re in tip-top condition, even if there are no warning signs like noise, pulling or vibrations.
Battery: If disaster strikes a flat battery will go from annoying to potentially deadly. A mechanic can check it’s charging at the correct rate and will let you know if it needs replacing.
Emergency Kit: Prepare an emergency kit and keep it some place safe. Even if you never need to use it in a disaster, it’ll still come in handy for road trips etc. You might want to include:
- Jumper cables
- A road map
- First aid essentials
- Batteries and chargers for electricals
- Non-perishable food supplies
For more information on how to stay safe behind the wheel when a disaster hits, download the information sheet from the American Public Health Association’s Get Ready program:http://www.getreadyforflu.org/facts/DrivingDisastersWeb.pdf.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.