It’s been a tough couple of years, but things are looking up! Many of us are ready for a much-needed vacation, and what better way to get a change of scenery than a classic road trip. But before you hit the road, we’ve got some tips to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable road trip.
Conduct a Vehicle Wellness Check
First things first, if you’re going to travel long distances (or even short distances for that matter), you better make sure your car is up to snuff!
Here are some things you’ll want to check before you leave:
Tires: How’s your tire pressure? How does the tread look? Is your spare tire in good shape?
Systems: Is anything lighting up on your dashboard? Do the heat and A/C work?
Oil: How are your oil levels? When’s the last time you had your oil changed?
Lights: Are your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals working correctly?
Windshield wipers: Do you have cleaning fluid? Can your windshield wipers handle heavy rain?
Windows: Can you see out of them? Are they clean and free of clutter?
Gas: How’s your tank looking? Better fill up before you go!
While checking on your vehicle’s health will help prevent an emergency situation, it’s always good to be prepared for the worst too. Do you know how to jump a car? Can you change a tire? If not, we’ve got you covered with these car maintenance instructions.
Pack an Emergency Kit
You never know what’s going to happen out there, especially when driving long distances – you might end up in a remote area where it’s harder to get assistance. To prepare for these situations, we recommend that you keep an emergency kit in your trunk. Some items you might consider putting in your emergency kit include:
Blanket(s) (one for every passenger)
Medications you/your passengers need to take
Extra phone charger
Bandaids, aspirin, and other general first aid items
And this is just a starting point! If you really want to make sure you’re ready for the road, check out our extended list of 33 items you need in your emergency road kit.
Plan Your Route
With smartphones, it’s easy to think that you can hop in your car and go anywhere without planning, but there are many reasons you should plan your route ahead of time. For one, you never know when cell service might get dicey. It’s old school, but you might consider buying a paper map or printing out driving directions to make sure you always know where you are.
On the other hand, you never want to be fiddling with your phone when you need to focus on the road. Make sure you know where you’re going ahead of time, and find somewhere safe to pull over if you get lost.
Planning your route ahead of time becomes even more important when traveling with pets or children. Getting your little ones ready for a road trip will require some extra preparation, and you’ll want to include breaks at rest stops or parks so everyone can stretch their legs and get out some energy.
Last but not least, planning your route in advance gives you the chance to shake up your trip by finding the scenic routes. Here are a few of the best road trip routes we’ve found.
Time Your Drive
Did you know that it’s more dangerous to drive at certain times? According to studies compiled by Forbes, 49% of fatal accidents happen at night. So, in addition to planning your route, it’s essential to plan out how long it will take to get to your destination so you can avoid driving at night.
On the topic of driving at night, it’s also a good idea to have a co-pilot. You can get sleepy driving long distances no matter what time of day, so it’s best to have someone who can take over the wheel when you need to rest. Plus, a co-pilot can help ensure that you’ve got great tunes to listen to the entire trip, and they can help you from becoming a distracted driver.
And that’s it! We hope these tips help you have the safest and most enjoyable road trip possible.
Want more tips on how to drive safely? Consider adding a defensive driving course to your list of road trip preparations!