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
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.
trip itineraries, as well asoff-the-beaten-path ideas. There will be somemishaps 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 thanthree 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.
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.