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With families all across the country making their way to visit family and friends during the winter holidays, bad weather often interferes with what should be pleasant road trips. So it's important to be as prepared as possible.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a reminder to all drivers to check their cars and take precaution before hitting the highway. First and foremost, the agency recommends having your vehicle tuned up. Also, have your car checked by a mechanic for any leaks and needed repairs. Check and double check your battery; when the temperature drops, so does battery power.

Another important thing to check this time of year is your cooling system. Coolant expands when it freeze, and that expansion can damage your car's engine block. Double check that you have enough coolant in your car, and that it's designed to withstand freezing temperatures. If you haven't flushed your coolant system in some time, do so as soon as possible. Coolant needs to be refreshed to remove dirt and rust that can clog the system and cause it to fail. Experts recommend flushing the system every few years.

Checking over all of these things is a great way to prepare for a winter road trip. Also make sure to pack a blanket, bottled water and nonperishable food items in your car. You never know when winter weather could leave you stranded. But by preparing your vehicle ahead of time, you'll save yourself a lot of stress.

CD

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.

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