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Stay Safe with These Summer Road Trip Tips

Jul 08, 2022

A car moving quickly down a road to visualize the growing road trip experiences for families in the summer.

If you don’t do at least one road trip while summer is in full swing, are you even summering? Even though the price of travel is on the rise, hitting the road is still a popular way to create a fun summer adventure for yourself and the family.

But before you set out, it’s important to not only brush up on summer driving safety tips, but create and work through a preventive pre-road trip planning checklist — and even consider a quick checkup at the mechanic’s. Yes it may cost a little more time and money (which we have a solution for, by the way … keep reading), but making sure your vehicle is ready for the summer roads can spare you from dealing with a possibly devastating (and certainly expensive) breakdown, crash or delay during your trip.

As far as the checklist … look no further than the pre-travel tips we’ve laid out for you below!

Check Your Tires to Avoid a Blowout

The summer months are sometimes called “blowout season.” We’ll explain: Although underinflated tires can lead to blowouts at any time of the year, the combination of heat and underinflation can make tires even more prone to mishaps in the summer. As your car is driving, tire sidewalls are bending and grabbing the asphalt, creating heat. With proper tire pressure, heat is minimal. But if tire pressure is low, the sidewalls have to work overtime bending and grabbing the asphalt, creating much more heat and increasing your chances of having a blowout.

If you’re wondering if your current tires are fine or if you should get new tires before a road trip, take the following steps:

  1. Inspect your tires

    at least once a month, especially before long road trips.

  2. Monitor the tread on your tires and replace tires that are either uneven or insufficient. The tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch or more on each tire. How to do this:

    • Some vehicles have a built-in wear bar indicator that will tell you when the tread is too low.

    • If your vehicle doesn’t have an indicator, you can use the penny test: Place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your vehicle is in need of new tires.

  3. If the wear on your tires is uneven, your tires either need

    rotation or your wheels need to be aligned before you travel.

  4. Make sure each tire is inflated to the recommended tire pressure.

    • This information can usually be listed on a sticker inside the driver’s door.

    • Use a tire gauge to make sure you’re not over or underinflating your tires.

  5. Some vehicle manufacturers suggest replacing tires every six years, regardless of use or tread wear. If your tires are older than six years, it’s best to shop for a new set of tires.

  6. Check for any damage in your tires that needs attention such as cuts, punctures, cracks or bumps.

  7. Make sure your spare tire (usually stored in your trunk) is in good condition.

Shop Tires with Acima Leasing

If you realize you’re in need of tires this summer after following the steps above, we understand that can be an expensive undertaking. So we have you covered: Acima Leasing works with numerous tire and auto retailers who offer name-brand tire selections through our lease-to-own solutions*. That means you can shop for the tire(s) you need with without using credit*. You can make smaller, more manageable lease renewal payments* as you work toward ownership. If you make the number of payments defined under your lease or exercise an option to purchase it early at a discount, it’s all yours![EC1] If you no longer need them, you can simply return them in good condition at any time without further obligation. It’s that easy! See how Acima Leasing can help you by reading more here or on our FAQ page.

Other Ways to Ensure Safety on the Road

Buckle Up: Seat Belts & Car Seats

Always make sure all passengers are buckled up and using age-/size-appropriate car seats, booster seats or seat belts. While laws regarding wearing seat belts vary by state, children under age 13 should always ride properly buckled in the back seat. Wearing seat belts has been found to reduce serious crash-related injuries by approximately half1 — so before setting out on your adventure, always check to make sure seat belts work and seats are properly installed.

Create a Roadside Kit

A roadside kit is incredibly helpful to have in the car anytime you drive (but especially on long trips) in case your car ever breaks down. Whether you purchase a ready-made kit or you create your own, here’s what we recommend your roadside kit should include:

  • Cell phone and charger

  • First aid kit

  • Flashlight

  • Jumper cables

  • Tire pressure gauge

  • Basic repair tools

  • Water

  • Nonperishable food

  • Any medications

  • Maps

  • Blankets, towels and coats

Have a Plan Before You Have Fun

Road trips are much more fun — and much less stressful — when there’s a proper plan in place before you get out of the driveway. Here are just a few recommendations:

Take the time to check the weather conditions, road conditions and traffic along the way so you can bring proper clothing and prep your vehicle as needed.

Familiarize yourself with which direction you’re going. Paper maps still work, but use a GPS system or the maps app on your smartphone if possible for better accuracy.

Make sure your phone includes numbers and relevant information for your insurance company and roadside assistance.

Let others (such as family or emergency contacts) know your itinerary and route before you set out, especially if you plan to travel for many hours across long distances.

Find Ways to Stay Alert at All Times

Speaking of driving long distances — it’s easy to get tired behind the wheel after a long drive. Here is where the mantra “safety first” is so important to remember, because it’s tempting to fight the fatigue to get to your destination rather than stop and rest. Resist the urge and instead, build in adequate time to make frequent breaks for food, to use the restroom, stretch your legs, or stop and rest (or change drivers) if you’re feeling drowsy. If needed, consider stopping for the night at a hotel en route.

Acima Leasing Puts You on the Road to Affordable Auto Care

Summer is a time for fun, and following these tips will ensure you have the most of it while you’re on your road trip! However, safety should always be your No. 1 priority. With Acima Leasing, you don’t have to leave your vacation plans, vacation budget or your safety to chance. That’s because you don’t have to sacrifice getting new tires because of poor (or a lack of) credit. Our lease-to-own solutions* are here to help you get what you need - without using credit*. Shop our auto and tire retailers today!