Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Young Travelers' Guide to Your First Road Trip

Your first significant road trip behind the wheel can be a lot of fun. Whether you are taking the trek alone, with your significant other, or with a car full of friends, a little preparation goes a long way when you are headed on a cross-country road trip. Before you hit the open road, review these tips to make your trip both safe and enjoyable.

Get Your Car Ready

Do you know what could really ruin your road trip? Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. For that reason, it's imperative to get a tune-up before you leave. Fluids, tires, brakes, filters, belts, and hoses should all be checked. When it comes to tires, don't just get your pressure checked, though that's important too. Also, get your tires rotated. And if the tread is near the end of its lifespan or you see any sidewall bulges, it's time to spring for new tires.

Double Check Your Insurance

When it comes to your vehicle, don't just check the car itself. Give your auto insurance policy a once-over as well. Get familiar with state insurance laws and the details of your policy, including specifics about whether your insurance covers repairs and if there are any rules or limitations when driving out of state. Also, make sure your medical payments coverage and uninsured motorist coverage will be valid wherever you go in the country. Finally, put a copy of your insurance card and registration in your glove box in case you get pulled over.

Assemble an Emergency Kit

Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle containing a flashlight with batteries, jumper cables, antifreeze, and tire inflator. The National Safety Council also recommends a spare tire, wheel wrench, and jack, as well as a tool kit, first aid kit, drinking water, fire extinguisher, compass, and other essentials. Sign up for roadside assistance service, whether it’s through AAA, your credit card company, or other reliable means.

Develop a Flexible Itinerary

You don't need to map out every single detail of your trip. However, you should have a general idea about where you are headed, as well as what stops you consider essential. Research classic road trip itineraries, as well as off-the-beaten-path ideas. There will be some mishaps along the way, and things may slow down your progress at times, such as road construction or accidents. Remember to keep a level head and just go with the flow; the less you stress, the more enjoyable your trip will be. As you are driving, you will assuredly come across some interesting places and opportunities you didn't even know existed.

Load Up Your Phone

We would never suggest texting while driving, but your phone will still be useful on a long road trip. In addition to the essential map apps, you should download a collection of your favorite music, as well as audiobooks and podcasts. This is especially advantageous for those areas of the country with poor radio reception (or just bad radio stations). Don't forget your phone charger and an adapter to plug into the console, if necessary.

Avoid Drowsy Driving

Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates drowsy driving is a factor in approximately 328,000 accidents annually. That’s more than three times the number of police-reported accidents involving drowsy driving. The AAA Foundation study also indicates that about 6,400 of those accidents result in a fatality. When you start feeling too tired, stop even if you haven’t reached your preferred destination. It’s better to take a nap at a rest stop or even in a parking lot than to have an accident. When driving with others, take turns driving rather than shouldering that responsibility yourself.

Whether you’re taking a summer trip with buddies from high school or embarking on a cross-country vacation with your new fiancee, with a little planning and preparation, you can make your first road trip a memorable one. From major cities to tiny towns and everything in between, America has a lot to offer on the open road. Just remember when it comes to driving, safety comes first, but having fun is a close second.

Photo credit: Pixabay
Article by:Fit Well Traveler

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