Summer driving tips from State Patrol

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Whether you're packing up for a 10 hour trip, or heading across town, the Wisconsin State Patrol says preparation is key to a safe and comfortable trip.

Commander Jeff Frenette, with the agency, says make sure you set your in-car navigation travel destinations before you depart. He says you should know how the system works so you're not manipulating the controls while driving. Also, if you are using a cell phone to navigate, test the features before hitting the road.

When it comes to road work, Frenette says "511" is a great resource. It offers real-time updates on construction projects and other incidents that could impact your travels. Try to research possible re-routes before leaving, he recommends. Plan for a little extra time in case conditions change.

If you have AAA or other roadside assistance you should have that contact information accessible and handy.

Consider preparing a travel comfort kit. Frenette says that will include food, non-alcoholic beverages and activities/games for kids. You should also carry a basic trunk emergency kit, with a gallon of water during summer travel.

Finally, have your cell phone and charger if you're traveling and do a vehicle health check before departing. Make sure you examine your tire tread and pressure. Frenette says road heat and low pressure can quickly destroy a tire.

Once you leave, the State Patrol says the usual driving safety tips apply. Wear your seat belt, it offers protection even in low-speed "fender-bender" collisions. Look farther ahead than you normally do. If vehicles ahead of you are slowing or stopping, troopers say you need to be prepared. Also, leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles, avoid traveling alongside large trucks and semis and stay with your vehicle if you get stranded. You should dial 911 from your car, do not get out and walk the highway.

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