Weekly auto rail, with tips for safe and smart summer travel, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
Even with rising gas prices, the travel industry is gearing up for a big year. After several years of staycations - vacationing at home or close to home - as a result of the slow economy, Americans seem more ready and willing to travel.
To make sure your next big trip goes smoothly, take some extra time to review these tips from FindLaw.com to avoid being scammed and to increase your safety and security while traveling.
- Check the law. Before you cross the border into Canada, Mexico or another country, check the laws about entering another country. For example, if you intend to travel into Canada, you may not be allowed to enter if you're asked and you admit to a charge of driving under the influence. And even though you're an American, you now must present a passport to re-enter the United States. If you're roadtripping across state lines, make sure you have proof of auto insurance and auto registration in your glovebox and make sure your driver's license is current. You may also want to clear up any old speeding or parking tickets that you may have in the state to which you are traveling, otherwise, you might find your car impounded in the event that you're stopped for a traffic violation. The last thing you want to have to do is find a lawyer to handle an emergency legal matter while you're on vacation.
- Emergency contact information. Create a list of emergency contacts, such as relatives, neighbors, doctors, dentists, pharmacy, etc., that emergency personnel can contact if you're involved in an accident and are unable to respond. Always leave a travel itinerary with your emergency contacts at home in the event that they need to contact you while you're traveling.
- Vital documents. Make photocopies of key documents (passport) and cards (driver's license, credit cards, health insurance card) should your wallet or purse become lost or stolen. Keep photocopies in a secure place where you can access them in case of an emergency.
- Avoid travel scams. As you're making your travel plans, be leery of bargains that seem too good to be true - because 99 percent of the time, they are. It's important to research a company's background. How long has it been in business? Is the travel company affiliated with professional organizations such as the American Society of Travel Agents? Have other consumers filed complaints about the company with the Better Business Bureau or your state's attorney's general office? Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if the company does end up being fraudulent.
- Travel insurance. There are many types of travel insurance, and in many cases, you may already be covered. Call your health care insurance provider to see if you're covered in the event of a medical emergency when traveling overseas. Contact your credit card company to see what travel-related benefits and insurance they offer. And contact your home and auto insurance provider about what your coverage is if you rent a car, or you experience a theft while traveling.
As of late April, these were the states with the highest average gas prices, according to AAA:
$4.045: New York
Did You Know
Still want a Nissan Leaf? You can place an order starting May 1. The company had halted reservations in September.
Q: Can odometers be calibrated and might this be covered under warrantee? I am concerned that when my 2008 Nissan Frontier reaches the 36,000-mile warrantee limit the vehicle will have many fewer actual miles than the odometer shows and, in general, I’d rather know the real mileage at any stage than not know.
A: Yes, the odometer can be recalibrated and it is done electronically by simply reprogramming. Tire size also plays a part in calibration and correct speed and odometer readings. You can have the dealer check the vehicle and it should be covered under the warranty.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service