When the kids get out of school and the weather turns warm, many of us in the Fort Worth region get an itch to hit the road.

Road trips are an essential part of American culture, and we can talk for days about where to go and what to do. But to help your road trip go along smoothly, we want to focus on some safety tips. Grade school kids accompany their parents on family vacations in the car. Many college kids drive long distances to begin their internships. We want to make sure they stay safe, so here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Know what to do when the torrential rains begin flooding the roads you’re driving

Torrential downpours are common in May and you want to be sure you remain safe. Here are seven helpful tips to keep you safe while driving in the rain:

Tip #1 – Give yourself more time to travel when it’s raining.

Tip #2 – Keep a safe following distance between your car and the cars in front of you.

Tip #3 – Obey the speed limit. Drive under the speed limit as needed. Fast driving during rainstorms is dangerous because the roads are slick.

Tip #4 – Turn your headlights from the auto mode to “On” position. Many times the daylight during a torrential rain will keep the lights off.

Tip #5 – If you are stuck in a torrential downpour and you cannot see much past the front of your vehicle. Turn on your emergency flashers. The flashing amber lights glow and can be seen better than just the red parking lights.

Tip #6 – Read the Signs. Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the road through it. Do not drive around barricades or you might find yourself trapped on a washed out road or bridge.

Tip #7 -Scared of being trapped in your vehicle? Doors and windows will not open? Use your driver seat headrest! Remove it and you will see the steel prongs. They are designed to punch out the door glass.

Learn what to do when your car begins to hydroplane.

Here are the steps you need to take if you find your car has lost contact with the wet road:

Step 1 – Stay calm and remove your foot from the accelerator pedal.

Step 2 – Avoid slamming on the brakes because that could create a spin out.  Gently pump the brakes only after your tires regain connection to the road.

Step 3 – If you do being to spin out, turn the wheel in the same direction the car is going. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and look out an open space off in the distance. Keep your eyes on that open space as you guide your vehicle out of the spin out.

Step 4 – Watch this video for expert instruction on what to do when you start hydroplaning.

Are your hazard lights working and do you know how to use them?

There’s a lot of road construction going on around the Fort Worth region. Accidents increase around road construction sites, and your hazard lights can help you and other drivers reduce the risk of an accident. Use your hazard lights whenever you feel uncertain about the road in front of you. They alert other drivers to slow down and give you space.  Watch this video to find out when to turn on your hazard lights while you’re on your road trip.

How can you save money on gas during your road trip?

Here are the top three things we recommend so you can stretch your gas money:

Tip #1 — Make sure your tires maintain the recommended tire pressure. Underinflation can cause extra drag, which erodes your gas savings.

Tip #2 — Service your vehicle on a regular basis. Preventive maintenance helps your car operate the way it was designed, and gets rid of the gunk that can slow down your engine’s performance.

Tip #3 — When driving with your A/C on, remember to use the Recirculate button. By using recirculate mode you are only cooling the air inside the vehicle. This will improve gas mileage and wear and tear on the a/c compressor.

Speaking of air conditioning, road trips aren’t as fun without comfort.

How can you avoid problems with your air conditioning system? It’s all about the preventive maintenance. Be sure to have your automotive A/C unit serviced on a regular basis. If you feel your car’s A/C blowing hot or smelling funny, drive to an auto repair shop as soon as you can to have it repaired.