After a year filled with canceled trips and plans, many people are itching to hit the road this holiday season. Being prepared with car safety tips may be even more important this year because people haven’t been paying as much attention to car maintenance.

Whether your plans include driving across the Valley or heading to the high country, your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) are sharing car safety tips and ways to stay safe.

Check lights

Be sure other drivers can see your headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals.

Check wipers

As we enter our wetter winter season, you want to make sure they’re in good shape so you can clearly see the heavier traffic. And, don’t forget the solvent.

Check battery

The average lifespan of a car battery in Arizona is less than three years. Just because it survived the summer doesn’t mean it’ll last through your holiday road trips.

Check tires

• As the temps drop, your tire pressure light is more likely to come on. For every 10 -degree drop in temperature, tire pressure drops about 1 psi.

• Research by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that tires age faster in warmer climates. Cracks, bulging and worn tread can lead to big problems.

• NARPRO can help your audience figure out how old their tires are and how to be sure they’re buying the ‘freshest’ tires.

Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels

Check filters

After a summer packed with your storms, your filters could be pretty full of gunk.  Besides affecting airflow and quality in your car, dirty filters can also hurt fuel efficiency and overall performance.

If you’re heading to the high country:

Test your cold weather gear

• Are your chains in good shape? How’s the air in your spare? Got fresh batteries in the flashlight?

• If you have a four-wheel drive that wasn’t used during the summer, make sure the system engages and disengages easily and that all the drivers in your house know how and when to activate the system.

Get the right antifreeze mix

• To prevent freezing, aim for a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water in your radiator.

• An inexpensive antifreeze tester at an auto parts store will help you determine if the mixture is correct and your Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) can test your coolant level of protection, pH balance and electrolysis. They can also properly dispose of antifreeze, which cannot be poured down a drain.

Eyes on the tank

Be sure to keep the gas tank as full as possible to prevent the gas lines from freezing.

Be smart about stopping

• If you have car trouble, avoid stopping in or near travel lanes.

• Aim for an area where the vehicle can be safely removed.

• If your car can’t be moved, raise the front hood and turn on hazard lights.

An emergency kit for your trunk should include:

• Blanket, boots, gloves and extra clothing

• Mobile phone, charging cable and back-up power pack.

• Extra water and food, including hard candies

• Ice scraper and small shovel

• Flashlight with fresh batteries

• Windshield wipers and washer fluid

• Flares and/or reflectors

• Jumper cables

• Tire chains

• Tire gauge, spare tire and tire-changing equipment

• First aid kit

• A bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter, which can provide additional traction if tires get stuck in snow.