The Richland County Sheriff’s Department offs the following holiday safety travel tips for your protection:
- If planning a “road trip” over the holidays, have your vehicle serviced and checked out sufficiently far ahead to allow for repairs if needed.
- Don’t forget to have the mechanic check your spare tire and all fluid levels along with the other preventive maintenance procedures.
- Consider keeping spare fuses and a “breakdown kit” in your vehicle at all times.
- Breakdown kits may be purchased from a variety of sources, or you can assemble your own at any auto parts or hardware store using a commercial version as a guideline.
- If traveling by vehicle, know where you are going and how to get there and back.
- Obtain a map or download the latest available GPS data.
- Inform a family member where you will be and when to expect you back; give them your route if they don’t know it.
- Travel and conduct your business during daylight hours if possible.
- Select well-traveled and lighted thoroughfares. Bear in mind that routes which are congested during rush hour may be very lightly traveled at other hours.
- Use freeways and arterial streets and avoid less-traveled roads as much as possible, especially when driving at night or in unfamiliar locations.
- When driving, keep doors locked and windows rolled up at all times.
- NEVER pick up hitchhikers.
- Maintain at least half a tank of fuel, and keep vehicle in good repair.
- Check for construction detours; for longer trips, get a weather forecast.
- If traveling out-of-state, most states and/or state law enforcement agencies provide road-and-highway information either on-line or at a 1-800 number
- Check to see what conditions they report before leaving. Visit the Federal Highway Administration’s related webpage…
National traffic and road closure information is at www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/index.htm
Minimally a “breakdown kit” should include:
-a thermal blanket/bag and a gallon of water
-a “HELP” sign/flag and flares/reflectors
-a flashlight (check batteries semi-annually)
Also consider carrying:
-a set of jumper cables, a tire gauge, and work gloves
-a few hand tools (pliers, screwdrivers, Allen wrenches)
-some rope and at least one bungee cord
-towels and a roll of toilet paper (in a plastic bag)
-a small 12-volt tire inflator
-an empty (new, never used) one-gallon gas can
- All these items can fit in a small or medium size gym/duffle bag or a box and kept in your vehicle’s trunk, back-seat floorboard, or other storage area in the vehicle.
- Keep it updated, but never remove it from your vehicle.
- In addition to your basic “breakdown kit” you should also have a basic first aid kit in your vehicle at all times.
- Also consider purchasing and mounting a small ABC-rated portable fire extinguisher in your vehicle.
- Buy one with a “mount” designed for use in vehicles. Portable fire extinguishers should be securely “mounted” in the vehicle to prevent rolling and damage.
- The extinguisher should be visible and easy to reach. Mount the bracket on a strong, stable surface. It can be mounted in any sloping, vertical or horizontal position.
For more holidays safety tips contact the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Community Action Team at 803-309-5070.