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A Bit Of Planning Helps Avoid An Ugly Detour

SACRAMENTO — The call of the open road may be one of summer’s great attractions. But preparation can make all the difference between a relaxing summer getaway and roadside misadventure.

Before drivers head off on a road trip, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) would like everyone to remember some crucial advice for a safe trip.

“Prevention and planning may take a little time up front, but can spare you from the consequences of a breakdown later,” says CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Getting to your destination and back safely is priority number one.”

• Plan your trip. Know where you are going and where you will stop. Before you leave, research road conditions and construction to anticipate delays. The California Department of Transportation has a mobile app for traffic information, or visit for highway conditions.

• Check your vehicle. Regular maintenance will help keep it road-ready. Tires, belts, hoses, wiper blades, the cooling system, fluid levels, lights, and air conditioning should be in good condition. After California’s unusually wet winter, windshield wipers have seen a lot of wear and tear and may need to be replaced.

• Be sure everyone in your vehicle is using their seat belt. Double-check that young passengers are using the correct child safety seat for their height and weight.

• Use your cell phone only if it is properly mounted and in hands-free mode while driving. A new California law prohibits drivers from holding a cell phone while driving. Program any Global Positioning System devices before you start your trip.

• If you have a vehicle issue, such as a flat tire, drive off of the highway if at all possible. The shoulder of a freeway, no matter how wide, is not a safe place for repair work.

• Never leave a child or pet alone in a car, not even for a minute. California laws address situations in which children or pets are left in heated cars. However, the best approach if you see an unattended child or pet is to call 9-1-1.

Summer driving can be more dangerous than winter for several reasons. More teenagers, who are inexperienced drivers, are more likely to be on the road.

Vacationing drivers, unfamiliar with an area, may also drive erratically or unpredictably, either admiring the scenery or trying to find their way.

Road construction requires extra caution and may create delays.

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online