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Stay safe this summer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Corporal Ken Nelson, Colorado State Patrol   

Well, it is that time of year once again. Summer is coming and soon it will be time to head out camping, boating, tubing and water skiing. Before heading out on a well deserved vacation, there are a few things to remember to make vacation less stressful.

I have been a State Trooper for 15 years. In those 15 years, I have stopped on countless motorist assists involving blown out tires on boat trailers, travel trailers, motor homes and ATV trailers. We need to remember that the trailers and/or RVs have been sitting for almost a year or longer. The sun is a real killer on the sidewalls of tires. Before heading out with the family, take some time to check the following … you will be glad you did!

—Check the tires. Make sure there are no weather cracks in the sidewalls and make sure they are inflated to the proper air pressure. A low tire will generate a lot of heat and the tire will be more likely to blow out, causing a dangerous situation and delaying vacation! Properly inflated tires will also improve fuel mileage.

There will be a brand on the side of the tire that will look something like DOT3209. The numbers stand for the 32nd week of the year 2009. This is when that tire was manufactured. No matter how good the tread looks, a tire that is 5 or more years old should be replaced. When tires blow on vehicles they can, and usually do, cause damage to your vehicle or trailer.

—Have wheel bearings checked. This is especially important on boat trailers. Remember, we put boat trailers in and out of the water at the boat ramp all summer long. Water and wheel bearings are a bad combination. Water will break down the grease and then wheel bearings could seize to the spindle. I have seen these catch on fire as well. You will be on the side of the highway with a real problem and once again a significant delay to vacation!

—Make sure the batteries in boats and RVs are charged and in good condition. Make sure they will hold a charge. Before having someone help push a boat off of the trailer, make sure the battery stayed charged and the boat will start, or it will need to be rowed back to shore … been there, done that!

—Make sure belts and hoses are in good shape and make sure there are no coolant leaks. Check lights, including marker lights, turn signal and brake lights. Make sure to test brakes on trailers to make sure they are working correctly and have a good connection between truck and trailer.

—Make sure to put the valid proof of insurance card in the vehicle and make sure all trailers have the current registration validation stickers. This is also true for boat registration.

Last but not least, make sure everyone is belted into a seatbelt!

If chosing to indulge in an adult beverage, please drink responsibly and have a great and fun-filled summer!

Call *CSP (*277) if in need of assistance from the Colorado State Patrol.

Holyoke Enterprise May 16, 2013