When it comes to family travel, the best vacations are the safest ones. Certainly, it helps when you are headed to a fantastic destination, but when all is said and done, it is the fact that everyone made it there and back without any disasters or injuries that makes for the best chances of the best getaways for great memories.
When you’re headed out on a road trip, don’t forget that ensuring a safe vehicle is just as important as packing the right outfits to your family travel plans. Many people don’t realize it, but topping up fluids and filling up the gas tank aren’t the only things you should be doing before you hit the road. Your tires can be a deciding factor when it comes to your vehicle safety as well as the mileage you’re able to achieve throughout your trip.
The following are some key signs to look for when deciding whether or not your tires are safe enough for your next road trip, let alone your daily commute:
- The right weather tire – “all season” tires have a misleading name. These are only meant for all seasons if you live in a place that doesn’t experience extreme cold, ice and snow. However, if it drops below 45º Fahrenheit where you will be driving, then you’ll be far better served by winter tires. They’ll help you to stop 40 percent faster, have better traction and allow for better control of the vehicle as the weather gets colder and the road gets slipperier.
- The wear – look for irregular wear on your tires. If you see it, you’ll know that your tires are not properly balanced, that your wheels are misaligned, and that your tire pressure may not be what it should be. Use a good quality digital tire pressure gauge to keep watch on your tire pressure at the beginning of your trip, as well as every now and again along the way. Have a good look at the wear on the tread, as well. Check it against your tread depth indicator and make sure that they have not yet fallen below 1.6 mm and that they’re not so close to that point that they’ll pass it during the road trip.
- Cracks, blisters and bulges – cracks and blisters on the sidewall or bulges anywhere on the tire can mean that your tires are on borrowed time. These are signs that your tire is already developing a leak or that they are already too dangerous to be on the road. The only thing to do is to head out and buy new tires. Continuing with the current ones is simply unsafe as you could lose tire pressure slowly or very quickly and without warning.
In case something does happen, have a safety tool handy. A good quality digital tire pressure gauge may also come with features such as a glass hammer and a seatbelt cutter. Keeping that tool within reach of the driver’s seat could be the difference in providing safe family travel.