A year’s worth of pent-up demand is about to be unleashed as 34 million Americans prepare for a Memorial Day road trip. For many, this could be their first road trip in quite some time and AAA is urging drivers to make sure their vehicles are ready.
IF YOU’RE FLYING:
While more than 630,000 travelers are expected at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood Airport over 7-day period. Over at Miami International, they expect over 660,000 travelers.
Safety and security are at the top of the list. Remember if you’re flying, MASKS ARE MANDATORY.
- Departing passengers should arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight to allow enough time for adjustments to the airline check-in and security checkpoint screening process.
- Passengers are encouraged to check in online before arriving at MIA or FLL.
- FLL & MIA participate in several expedited security and Customs processing programs, including TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, Mobile Passport, and CLEAR, available in select locations and security checkpoints. Please visit their respective websites to learn more about the programs, how they work, and any associated costs
- To expedite screening at the TSA checkpoints, wear easily removable shoes, follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids or gels in their carry-on, and avoid accessories that resemble weapons. More tips and information are available at the TSA website.
- MIAMI: On-site COVID-19 testing at Miami International Airport is now available to passengers, employees, and visitors at two convenient locations.
- MIAMI: A federally-supported COVID-19 vaccination site at MIA is providing free one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to all individuals 18 and older from May 27 to May 28, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Walk-ups are accepted with no appointment or pre-registration necessary.
- FT. LAUDERDALE: Operated by Nomi Health, the COVID-19 testing service at FLL is located pre-security in Terminal 3 near baggage claim in a secluded area accessible curbside from Door 311. **The testing site will NOW open on Memorial Day from 7AM-7PM.** On Tuesday, June 1, the site will resume regular opening hours of 7AM-9PM daily.
- FT. LAUDERDALE: To make an appointment at or get more details on test types and costs, visit fll.net/.
- MIAMI: Ordering food and beverages is now as safe and easy as click, grab and go with MIA2GO, the airport’s new contactless mobile platform that puts customers in the fly-through lane to quickly browse menus, order, and pay before making their pick-up at restaurants throughout the airport.
- MIAMI: MIA passengers now have a personal travel assistant available around the clock, ready to tell them the fastest checkpoint for their flight and how to get there. Meet the MIA QueueAnalyzer – the latest in passenger flow management technology – available online now for real-time updates on security checkpoint wait times via the airport’s mobile app and website.
- MIAMI: Visit MIA’s Fly Safe, Fly Smart webpage for more MIA travel tips.
- If you are a traveler with a disability or have a medical condition, you can plan ahead with TSA Cares or call their toll-free helpline at 1-855-787-2227 to enhance your airport experience.
IF YOU’RE DRIVING
“Some vehicles may have spent more time in the driveway than on the roadway after a year of disrupted schedules due to the pandemic,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “AAA cautions drivers about hitting the road in vehicles that haven’t been properly maintained. A pre-trip inspection will go a long way to ensure you don’t spend the holiday on the roadside.”
AAA expects to rescue more than 468,000 Americans this Memorial Day weekend, mostly due to situations that could be avoided with a simple vehicle inspection. Drivers can find a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility by visiting AAA.com/AutoRepair.
Underinflated Tires Cause Blowouts
The top three reasons drivers request help from AAA are for flat tires, dead batteries and lockouts. Your tires are where the rubber meets the road. If neglected, tires could create serious consequences – ranging from a simple flat to a dangerous blowout on the highway.
“If people have not serviced their vehicle lately, chances are their tire pressure is low,” Jenkins continued. “Low tire pressure is one of the lead contributors to tire blowouts. Consider checking the air in your tires the next time you fill up the gas tank.”
AAA recommends checking your tires once a month, at minimum, and before taking a long trip. Inspect all four tires and, if you have one, the spare tire as well. Look for cuts, gouges or sidewall bulges. Drivers should pay special attention to both tire inflation pressure and tire tread depth:
- Check Tire Inflation Pressure – Check tire pressure when the car has been idle and tires are cool. Inflate as needed to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure. You will find it listed in the owner’s manual and on the sticker on the driver side door. Do NOT use the number on the tire sidewall.
- Check Tire Tread Depth – Insert a quarter upside down into the grooves. If you see the top of George Washington’s head, it is time for new tires. Be sure to check in multiple spots across your tire to diagnose any uneven wear patterns.
In addition to checking tires, AAA recommends getting a vehicle inspection or following this simple checklist before any long trip to help avoid a breakdown along the way.
Additional Checklist Items
- Listen to and feel the brakes. If you hear a grinding sound or feel a vibration when applying the brakes, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop for a brake inspection. A service professional will check the brake system for fluid leaks, and the pads, rotors, shoes and drums.
- Secure and test the battery. Make sure cable connections are clean and tight, and the hold down hardware is secure. Have a service professional do a battery check to determine remaining capacity. AAA members may request a free battery check.
- Top off engine oil and other fluids. Check that engine oil, coolant and brake, transmission and power steering fluids are at the correct levels for safe vehicle operation. When adding fluids, use products that meet the specifications listed in the owner’s manual.
- Replace wiper blades and replenish windshield cleaner. Rubber wiper blades naturally deteriorate over time. If wipers streak or fail to clear the windshield thoroughly, replace the blades. Fill the windshield washer reservoir with fluid formulated to remove insects and other debris, and test to make sure the nozzles spray adequately.
- Replenish emergency kit supplies. AAA recommends keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a flashlight and extra fresh batteries, first-aid supplies, drinking water, non-perishable snacks for people and pets, car battery booster cables, emergency flares or reflectors, a rain poncho, a basic tool kit, duct tape, gloves and shop rags or paper towels.
Be Prepared in Case Your Vehicle Breaks Down
Drivers who find themselves stranded can reach AAA by calling or texting “HELP” to 1-800-AAA-HELP (save this in your contacts), submitting a request via the web (bookmark in your favorites), or using the AAA mobile app (available on Google Play or in the App Store).
Sources: News releases from AAA, FLL and MIA