Get healthy: Prep tips for summer automobile travel |

Get healthy: Prep tips for summer automobile travel

Pam Graber
For the Nevada Appeal

Editor’s note: This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Q: What are good ways to prepare for summer road trips?

A: Whether you’re heading out on a day trip somewhere close or driving across the continent, it’s a good idea to prepare your vehicle so that summer driving brings maximum enjoyment and minimum stress. As you plan your trip, here are some things to remember:

Be sure to switch the winter tires for all-season tires. Check your tire pressure often to improve fuel economy and the way your car handles.

Watch your fluids. Be current on oil changes and consider going to a slightly thicker viscosity if you’ll be driving in extreme heat. Check your transmission fluid. Be sure your coolant to water ratio is about 1 to 1. Top off the wiper fluid.

Check and replace, if needed, other things like belts, hoses and wiper blades. If your battery is approaching the three-year mark, preemptively replace it, too.

Prepare an emergency kit for the car to be stored in a safe, secure part of the trunk or storage area. Suggested items are:

• Basic tools

• Flashlight, flares, first aid kit

• Jumper cables

• Mat or blanket in case of a tire change (to keep your clothes clean)

• Nonperishable food

• Paper towels

• Phone number of your roadside assistance people

• Water

• Wiper fluid

Pack conservatively to keep the load as light as possible for optimal comfort, outward visibility and handling. However, it’s a good idea to bring a small cooler with water, cereal bars, fruit, etc. Oh, and don’t forget the camera.

Load the car properly. Try to keep the weight evenly dispersed and put the really heavy items close to the center of the vehicle. Don’t exceed your car’s payload limit. If the car is so heavily loaded that the back end is sagging, consider a downward adjustment of the headlights. A rule of thumb for headlights is that at night, if you can see the hair color of the driver in the car in front of you, you should probably adjust your headlights downward. There are simple instructions for adjusting headlights at

Avoid fatigue by getting a good rest the eve of your trip. Be mindful that a coffee buzz works at first, but it’s usually followed by a lull. On long hauls, switch drivers every hour or two, or at least stop for a comfort break. And by all means, take a roadside nap if necessary.

Study maps ahead of time and know your directions to prevent unnecessary “detours.”

Tow safely. Slow and smooth are your key words. Have adequate mirrors and if it’s your first time towing, get some instructions.


It’s against the law to leave an animal in an unattended car any time of the year. Be kind to your pets.

Wear seatbelts

Click It or Ticket (observed May 24-June 6, 2010) is an annual, national campaign coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to increase the proper use of seat belts. Law enforcement agencies across the nation participate by conducting intensive, high-visibility enforcement of seat belt laws.

This year, the campaign continues its focus on young adult males and includes daytime and nighttime enforcement activities. Additional information about Click It or Ticket activities is available from NHTSA at http://www.nhtsa

.gov. Additional information about preventing motor-vehicle crash injuries is available from CDC at safety.

Carson City Health and Human Services Clinics

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Wednesday and Friday, by appointment

CALL: 775-887-2195

Thursday is Immunization Day

Hours: 8:30-11:30 a.m.;1-4:30 p.m. No appointment needed

CALL: 775-887-2195

• Pam Graber is the public information officer for Carson City Health and Human Services. She can be reached at .