The forecast in the Twin Cities: Hot and getting hotter. And, that can make for troublesome travel.
When the temperature increases, decrease your risk on – and off – the road with these safety tips:
Check those tires. You’re already checking your tire pressure every month, right? Even if you are (most of us don’t), keep a closer eye on them during the warm months. Heat can increase tire pressure rapidly.
Keep cool under the hood and inside your car. If you don’t remember the last time you had your engine coolant checked and flushed (mechanics recommend flushing and refilling every two years), now is probably a good time – before you hit the road. Give your air conditioning a test run, too. If it’s not cooling you down, get it serviced.
Act quickly if your car starts to overheat. When your car’s temperature moves above the halfway mark on the dashboard, try turning off your air conditioning and turning on your heat to give your engine a break. Pull over if it’s safe to do so, and give your engine even more of a break. Call for roadside assistance if there’s steam or smoke, and get away from the car if it’s smoke. More of a do-it-yourselfer? Be careful opening the hood of an overheated car, and don’t add coolant or water until the car cools down.
See to the comfort – and safety – of your passengers. Within just 10 minutes of parking your car on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can hit 110 degrees. Don’t leave kids or pets in a parked car, even for just a few minutes, and bring plenty of water for the trip. The back seats and cargo areas of many cars don’t get as much air as the fronts seats, so make sure your kids, both human and furry, stay hydrated.
Proceed with caution in an electric car. High temperatures (and cold ones, too) can reduce the charge of your battery, sometimes by as much as 40 percent. You’ll want to take that into account when planning a trip.
Different seasons bring different car maintenance needs in Minnesota. Follow these tips to help make sure you and your car both stay cool in the heat.
It’s summertime – prime RV season in Minnesota. But, even if you know where you want to go, do you know how to get there?
After all, driving an RV is a little different than simply hopping in your car, so we here at Sentinel Assurance Group put together some tips to help you plan your route and enjoy your trip.
Use an online trip planner: Two that we know of are FreeTrip.com and the Good Sam Club (this one requires a membership). You can set guidelines, such as avoiding highways or low clearances, and get a route customized to you.
Don’t forget guidebooks and atlases: There’s nothing wrong with going low-tech, too. In fact, it’s good to have a backup for when you need to change plans without Internet or GPS assistance. Atlases for commercial truck drivers, in particular, can be useful, because they highlight some of the same things you need to consider, such as overpass height, etc.
Know your vehicle: It’s tempting to just take the height specifications from your manual, but it’s better to know for sure. Measure your RV from the ground to the highest item on the roof. Stick it on a label inside your windshield so it’s always visible.
Utilize other tools: Some GPS models have RV/truck modes that will adjust routes based on the larger size of your vehicle. Use them if they’re available.
Have multiple sources of information: Online trip planners and GPS systems make things easy, but they’re not always up to date. So, in addition to your trip plan and guidebooks, also take care to pay attention to signs and your surroundings when you’re on the go.
It’s easier than ever to plan for a great road trip, so get out there and explore! We’ll be waiting to hear all about your trip and to help you with all of your RV insurance needs.
Spring is here in Minnesota (well, sort of!), and summer is right around the corner. It’s time to think about getting your boat out on the water.
Actually, first things first: It’s time to think about getting your boat ready to get out on the water. From the engine and propeller down to your trailer, a little preparation as you get your boat out of winter storage can help you start off the season right — and get the most out of your time on board.
Check your safety gear. Do you have enough life jackets? Are they in good shape? What about onboard fire extinguishers? Are your navigation lights working?
Consider adding safety items. Should disaster strike, an emergency position indicating radio beacon can help rescuers find you and your boat. And, if you have an enclosed space on the boat, you should have a carbon-monoxide detector.
Examine your fuel system. Any leaks or damage should be addressed immediately.
Look at all belts, hoses and cables. Those that appear brittle or cracked most likely need to be replaced.
Check fluid levels, such as engine oil. Change or add as needed.Have your battery and electrical system checked. Look for corrosion on your electrical connections.
Make sure your propeller isn’t banged up. Dings and distortion can cause vibration, as well as damage your drive train.
Look at the hull for blisters and cracks. Repair or patch damage, and make sure to use an environmentally safe solution when washing the exterior and interior.
Don’t forget the trailer. Treat your trailer with as much care as you show your boat. Inspect the hubs occasionally, and check your lights before every trip. If you go boating in salt water, give the trailer a very good rinse afterward.
Don’t forget insurance, either! It’s a good idea to check your coverage as you head into boating season, too. Just give us a call here at Sentinel Assurance Group, and we can help you with a quick insurance review.
There’s nothing quite like a sunny – and safe – day on our local lakes and rivers in Minnesota. We’ll see you out there!