During the hot summer months when school is out and vacation travel increases, Orlando’s vehicle traffic also increases significantly.   With nearly 38 million American travelers expected to take to the highways over the coming months, you can bet quite a few will be headed from all directions to the number one tourist destination in the country, the City Beautiful.

Whether you are tooling around town or road-tripping to neighboring cities and attractions during these times, it becomes more imperative that you take every available precaution to ensure the safety of your family and others.  Before venturing onto the highways make sure your personal vehicle or your rented family-vacation-wagon comes equipped with all of the standard safety and emergency equipment and features available and that they are all functioning properly.  Check driver and all passenger seat belts, head rests, head and tail lights, brake and caution lights.  While you’re at it, check the dashboard, interior and any backup lights.  Make sure that you have GPS and old-school maps for directions. Ensure that you also have a properly inflated spare tire, tire gauge, working jack lift and tire iron, emergency cones, blocks or reflector triangle, a first aid kit, a flare, a flashlight, a gas can and a set of jumper cables.  If you’re travelling a long distance at night, you might want to bring along a couple of spare headlight bulbs and a can of motor oil.

In the event of an accident or other roadside emergency you’ll want to contact first responders or roadside assistance providers.  However, it is best to be prepared in case there is an extended wait time for assistance. Additionally, bring cash or a credit card so that you can pay for roadside assistance if needed.  Keep a fire extinguisher and a small toolbox with screwdrivers, duct tape, Allen wrenches and a hammer in an easily accessible spot in case you need to make a quick repair to your car or to other vacation-related items.

Don’t leave home without enough bottled water and non-perishable snack foods to take care of each traveler for at least a 24-hour period.  If pets are along for the ride, bring food and water for them, too!  Bring extra water for your radiator, just in case. While this almost goes without saying, don’t forget to bring your cell phone and charger.  Though we may think we can’t, most of us can survive without a cell phone.  But having one can help speed up the process of securing emergency assistance.   Add a flashlight and spare batteries to your emergency stash along with rags, gloves, and pen and paper in case you have to leave a note on your windshield.

You may think they’ll be no room for luggage after all of this but a wise man once said, “It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.”  So, get to packin’ and hit the road!

About the author

Sharon Fletcher Jones is a true Libra, an action-ist, and a budget fashionista.  The Portsmouth, Virginia native is also an employment specialist with Goodwill Industries, a life coach and an associate editor at ONYX Magazine. Stacey’s mom (literally) has got it going on.  Fletcher Jones’ personal mantra is “It’s the dash that counts.”

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