If you’re one of the millions of Americans taking a road trip this summer, you have some planning to do – and we’re not talking about budgeting some extra money for rising Hotel costs.
The road trip is a classic American rite of passage; and it’s not always about the destination. It’s about the journey.
But getting to your destination safely is a big concern for road trippers. Bring along some extra supplies and brush up on these tips to make sure you get there – and back – safely.
Before You Leave:
Get a Vehicle Inspection
Make sure your car is in proper working order – this ensures your safety on the road and the efficiency of your vehicle. Get a total inspection, including oil, tires, A/C, and make sure all your fluids are topped off. Vehicles in bad repair will certainly put a kink in your trip.
Pack a First Aid Kit
You never know what may happen; bring along your first aid kit for those unscheduled minor emergencies. Tailor your first aid kit to your destination – toss in some extra calamine lotion if you’re going camping or some extra gauze pads for skinned knees and ankles if you’re planning a hiking trip.
Learn How to Call 911 from Your Cell Phone
It may be tricky to call emergency services from a cell phone when you’re away from home. Find out specifically how your cell phone handles emergency calls before you leave. Also be sure to bring around your cell phone charger or car adapter so that your cell phone is ready in an emergency.
On the Road:
According to AAA, road trippers should stop every two hours or 100 miles to rest and stretch your legs. If you can, rotate drivers regularly in order to avoid fatigue. Taking regular breaks helps avoid falling asleep at the wheel and boosts everyone’s mood – both important health benefits while you’re on the road.
Travel During Daylight
Visibility is best during the day so try to do as much driving as you can in the daylight hours. Avoid driving late at night, when other cars on the road are more likely to be under the influence of substances or suffering from fatigue. However, use your best judgment: if you’re driving into a rising or setting sun, you may want to take a break until your visibility improves.
Get Plenty of Rest and Hydration
A full night’s sleep is the best way to start your daily driving fully refreshed. Keep hydrated on the road, especially in very warm, dry climates. One of AAA’s road safety articles reminds drivers to avoid too much caffeine. The effects of caffeine, usually found in coffee and soda, are only temporary, and can result in increased drowsiness once it wears off. We know we don’t have to say it, but never drink alcohol while you’re on the road. Fatigue is one of the biggest threats to drivers, so make sure to limit your caffeine intake and avoid driving if you are feeling drowsy.
Keep Kids and Pets Occupied
If you’re traveling with your kids or pets, bring along some treats and entertainment to keep everyone happy – and to avoid distractions while you’re driving. Get children interested in the road trip with games, CDs, books, and maps, especially if the maps are related to your destination. Don’t let children and pets ride in the front seat, where airbags pose a dangerous threat. And no matter how much he likes it, try not to let Fido hang his head out the window – a restrained dog limits distractions and lets you concentrate on the road.
These road trip tips will ensure that your time on the road is as pleasant as your destination. Buckle up and enjoy the view.