Almost 100 million Americans will go on a family vacation sometime this year, and nearly half of them will choose to make it a road trip, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

No matter how far you’re driving, or in what kind of vehicle, take these steps to help make sure your trip goes smoothly.

• Catch up on routine maintenance: Before leaving for your trip, make time to get caught up on any routine maintenance items like oil changes, tire rotations and the like. Make sure there are no outstanding recalls for your vehicle. Have your mechanic check all of your vehicle’s fluid levels, the wiper blades, lights and signals, tire tread and PSI, plus, of course, the condition of your brakes.

• Check your load limit: If you’re planning on packing or hauling a lot of extra gear, especially large or heavy items such as a boat, bikes or a trailer, check your towing capacity and/or load limit to be sure your vehicle can handle the extra weight or towing. Your vehicle’s load capacity is usually available in your owner’s manual and/or on the tire information in the driver’s door sill.

• Pack with safety in mind: Bring along everything you and your family might need to stay safe and healthy during the trip, along with items you might need in case of a breakdown or other vehicle emergency. Be sure to include a standard first aid kit, along with bottled water and protein or energy bars, blankets, flashlights and batteries, a phone charger, jumper cables, and warning flares or triangles. Be sure to have the number of a roadside assistance service programmed into your phone in case of emergency.

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