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Vacation time is with us again, and you will be
taking off for distant places for fun and relaxation. Here are some pointers
that will help you to avoid unpleasant incidents, or worse, that could turn fun
time into a nightmare.
Everyone planning a vacation trip should plan well
in advance for complete safety. This should include not only the vehicle that
transports us to our vacation spot, but the safety and security of our
Tell the police or sheriff's office how long you'll
be gone and where you can be reached in emergency. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye
on your house. Use a timer switch to turn house lights on at night and off in
the daytime. Stop deliveries of newspapers, milk and mail. Lock all doors and
windows, but don't lower shades.
Modern automatic gas and electric appliances are
considered foolproof, but to be entirely free of worry while away, leave nothing
to chance. Shut off utilities—gas and water at the main valves, electricity
except refrigerators, freezers and lights.
Hoses on cloths and dish washers have been known to
burst due to extended wear and tear and flood the laundry room or kitchen. It is
one thing for it to happen when you are home, but quite another thing if it
occurs when you are gone a week or two. If for whatever reason you can not shut
the water off to your home before you leave on vacation, at least turn off the
water valves on your cloths and dish washer.
Take the car to your serviceman. Tell him you're
going on a trip, and ask him to check all safety features—tires (including
spare), steering system, brakes, front‑end alignment, hoses and belts,
exhaust system, windshield washers and wipers, all lights and all fluid levels.
Stock up or check up on all emergency
equipment—flares, portable lights, first aid kit and manual, fire
extinguisher, tow strap or chain, jack and lug wrench, and any other tools you
might need. If the children will be with you, take along games to keep them from
Avoid overloading your car, or it will be sluggish
on acceleration and will require longer braking distances. Too much weight in
the trunk can affect steering and headlight aim, and may increase danger of
Don't pile up a load in the rear seat that will
block rearview mirror vision. Don't clutter the rear window ledge with objects
that could become missiles in a sudden stop.
Make sure that you take with you all the papers and
documents you might need, such as driver licenses, vehicle registration,
hospitalization card, auto insurance company identification card (may be needed
in case of accident or for bail bond), address book with phone numbers for
emergency calls, credit cards, travelers checks or blank bank checks instead of
a large amount of cash.
Check well ahead of time on the status of your auto
insurance, especially to make sure your coverage meets the legal demands of the
states you will visit.
With your mind at rest about home security and
safety, you're ready for the "Load up!" signal to your passengers and
the start of a pleasant, carefree vacation trip.
Be sure that everyone buckles their seat belt and
locks the doors. In case of an accident, those held in their seats with properly
adjusted shoulder and lap belts are less likely to be seriously injured in an
You want to reach your vacation site as soon as
possible to start your favorite pastime, whether its fishing, boating, mountain
climbing or what have you. But don't try to drive so long that fatigue will dull
If you reach your fun spot in good shape, fully
rested and relaxed, your holiday activities will be the most pleasant.
But then don't forget to start home in plenty of
time for a safe and pleasant return trip. Too many vacationers spoil the memory
of a good time by trying to drive too long at the end in order to get home in
time for work.
Don't skip meals because you're in a hurry to
"get there." Low blood sugar is a common cause of fatigue and
drowsiness. Stop and eat regular light meals along the way. Munch on fruits and
cookies as you drive.
There is always the temptation to drive when there
are fewer cars on the road, and there is no sun glare. The urge is to
"cover ground" while the temperature is lower. But don’t forget that
it is much more dangerous to drive at night. More than half of all traffic
deaths occur after dark.
Vacation driving should be fun driving. Watch your
step and keep it that way.
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