Four tips for driving safely and enjoyably on summer vacations

For many of us, vacations mean driving to the peace and quiet of a summer cabin, visiting attractions in a nearby city, or even taking a road trip another state.

Summer is the best time of year to get away. But those getaways can become grueling when car trouble turns delight into detours...or even danger.

Fortunately, a proactive attitude and thorough preparation can help ensure successful summer travel. Our road trip checklist offers some good advice about what to do before you hit the road. Here are some other timely travel tips:

Get charged up

Before you recharge on vacation, check your battery's charge. Heat can sap its strength this time of year.

"Hot weather can be quite a strain on the battery, and that's compounded when children often make full use of tablets, media players and chargers," says Martti Putkonon, field manager for car service at Vianor, a retail chain owned by Nokian Tyres.

Make sure your dealer gives the battery a thorough once-over before you leave for a long journey.

Clear the air

Make sure travel is a breeze by checking your cabin air filter each year and getting your air conditioner serviced at least every two years. This will ensure you're getting maximum clean air flow for those warm summer rides.

Take the scenic route -- but make sure you're ready for it

Once you're on your way, consider taking the road less traveled -- after all, it's a great way to see small towns and sights you might miss on the highway. Unfortunately, though, out-of-the-way roads might be more poorly maintained than major highways, so make sure you're equipped with tires build to withstand dangers like potholes, tight turns and shallow standing water

Tread safely -- check your tires 

Even premium tires won't be at their best if they aren't properly inflated or their tread is worn. Before a long trip, make sure you've got adequate tread life and optimal tire pressure.

Tread depth is especially important in rainy summer weather. When the skies open and sudden rainfall hits the road surface, poor tires may not be able to displace a sufficient amount of water, resulting in aquaplaning. A safe tire has a minimum of 4/32 of an inch (or 4 millimeters) of tread left. Our Driving Safety Indicator, found on all our products, tells you how much tread life you've got left.

You can check your tire pressure at a service station or tire shop, for example. Vacations usually mean your car will be loaded full of people and items, so you should set your tires at full load pressure. This can be found in the car’s user manual. Correct tire pressure reduces fuel consumption, extends the service life of your tires and makes driving safer.

By following these simple steps, you'll lay the foundation for a smooth, successful summer journey. For more tips and tricks, check out the following pages:

Tire Safety 101

Road Trip Safety Checklist

Advanced Tire Safety Tips