Summer travel tips from AAA: What know before you leave

People travelling for the Fourth can be sitting pretty if they know what to anticipate. CONTRIBUTED

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People travelling for the Fourth can be sitting pretty if they know what to anticipate. CONTRIBUTED

Summer travel season is kicking into high gear, with more than 44 million Americans planning to celebrate Independence Day with a vacation this year.

Nearly two million Ohioans are heading out, and that includes 1.6 million planning a road trip. Before you pack the first piece of luggage, AAA encourages travelers to do a little pre-planning and “know before you go” — things such as getting a vehicle road-ready, understanding traffic laws in the states you plan to travel through and making sure you understand what your AAA membership covers. Did you know that your AAA membership provides coverage if you experience a break down on your bicycle?

Vehicle readiness

Experiencing a breakdown during the long-awaited family summer vacation might not count as an actual disaster, but it certainly won’t create the kind of memories you hope to recall for years to come. The best way to prevent a breakdown is by staying on top of routine, manufacturer-recommended maintenance.

The top three things to check before you head out are your battery, tires and fluids. Miami Valley area AAA Tire & Auto centers offer free bumper-to-bumper preventative maintenance inspections and AAA membership is not required. Drivers can always check air pressure and fill up tires for free at any AAA Tire & Auto location.

Understanding traffic safety laws

Traffic laws vary from state to state. For instance, consider bicycle laws – in Ohio there is not a helmet law, but if you plan to ride your bike in Florida, you should know that helmets are required for all riders under the age of 16. Seatbelt laws are also different from state to state. Unlike Ohio, if you travel through Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan or Tennessee you should know that seatbelt use is considered a primary offense – meaning you can be stopped by police for not wearing a seatbelt.

Other laws that vary include accident reporting, child passenger safety and headlight use. To learn about how laws compare state to state, visit AAA’s Digest of Motor Vehicles site at drivinglaws.aaa.com.

Navigating security at the airport

Roadways won’t be the only busy travel mode over the holiday; air travel is expected to grow by nearly 5 percent in 2017, as 3.44 million travelers will take to the skies over the Independence Day holiday. Understanding the rules will help you navigate airport security with the least amount of stress. One of the things that seems to cause the most confusion is the rule about liquids allowed in carry-on bags.

Details of the liquids rule

• You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag separate from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage.

• Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste that alarms during screening will require additional screening.

• Exemptions include medications and infant and child nourishments.

TSA rules for those traveling with children:

• Children 12 and under can leave their shoes, light jackets and headwear on during screening.

• Children will not be separated from their parent/guardian.

• Remove infants and children from their carriers and carry them in your arms through the walk-through metal detector.

• Modified screening procedures are in place to reduce the likelihood of a pat-down.

Where ever your summer vacation plans take you, AAA reminds you that safety should never take a vacation. Put on your seatbelt, put away distractions and enjoy the memories you create with those you care about the most.

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