Everyone loves a road trip. Any driver with a sense of adventure looks forward to experiencing the freedom of the open road while passengers enjoy the ride. However, the price of freedom comes with responsibilities that drivers should take seriously.
It’s necessary to get ready for your trip to ensure that you’re prepared for any situation especially when you’re far away from home. Here are some tips to make sure that you are ready to get your journey started.
An organized and well-planned trip would ensure that you have a good and safe time. First of all, you need to have a destination. It’s better to know where you’re going rather than just winging it.
While a spontaneous excursion can be fun and exciting, it’s smarter for those who are on a time limit (as most road trippers do) to plot out the trip and save that type of decisions once the trip starts. There are plenty of websites available to help you plan your trip, but everyone has their go-to resources for planning a trip.
Be careful not to overschedule your trip or you’d almost guaranteed to find yourself struggling to catch up to your schedule instead of enjoying the scenic route.
Weather should also be something you should plan for. Whether you plan to drive into the mountains for a ski trip or to the beach for a holiday, preparing for the weather would avoid taking a trip that could be too dangerous to drive. Driving situations can get particularly hazardous to drivers as some elements such as snow, fog, and rain can reduce visibility.
You may want to avoid taking a trip that could be too dangerous for you and your companions. There is nothing wrong with rescheduling a trip and building up to more risky trips later on.
It's also best to get ready for unforeseen events because it's definitely going to happen. Even if you take every precaution possible, there’s no assurance that there wouldn’t be an unexpected problem on the road.
When you run into other problems, make sure you have a printed list of emergency numbers from the local emergency services for either the number of a towing company, rental car service or roadside assistance ready.
Be Realistic about the Distance
When you’re on a limited time, it’s better to keep the destination within reason. Putting too much pressure on yourself by driving for many hours can endanger everyone on the trip. Driving while exhausted may seem harmless, but it has serious consequences such as getting involved in a car accident which could harm yourself or someone else.
Fatigue has the same effect as drinking can affect a person’s ability to function. It makes it more difficult to pay attention to the road as well as negatively impact a person’s ability to make fast decisions.
That’s why when planning your trip, you should include a stop along the way. It’s better to stop and rest for the night than forcing yourself to keep on driving. If unavoidable, make sure to take along another driver who can split up the driving.
Check Your Car Beforehand
You would be relying on your vehicle to bring you to your destination, so it’s essential to be confident that it is in a proper driving condition and wouldn’t break down in the middle of the road.
If you know more than just the buttons on the dashboard, you can check that your vehicle is properly maintained before starting your trip or better yet, have your car looked at by your trusted mechanic. A professional would be able to find and eliminate problems and decide whether the vehicle is roadworthy.
However, there might still be issues that would come up that even a reputable mechanic wouldn’t be able to predict. At the very least, you can eliminate any common problems that may come up like flat tires.
Besides those, you or your mechanic can make sure to check if your indicator lights and headlights work and change the light bulbs if it doesn’t. It’s also important to check your brakes, transmission fluid, antifreeze, tires and oil as well as the fluids of your windshield wipers.
Have an Emergency Kit
You never want to think about the worst possibility happening but should be prepared for it to occur. You should always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, especially during a road trip
A basic first aid kit is a must even for just daily driving. However, your emergency items should be more extensive if you plan to take an actual trip.
You can buy an emergency kit that many stores have in stock or you can make your own kit by stocking a storage box including few necessities such as band-aids, gauze, basic medicine, a flashlight with extra batteries, hand sanitizer, flares, matches, duct tape, blanket, several bottles of water, and a few snacks.
You should also include some basic tools for your car such as jumper cables, jack, and a spare tire. Even if you haven’t learned how to use these tools, you’d be able to find people who can help use them when needed.
It’s also smart to carry both cash and at least one credit card in case of an emergency.
Having anything handy that could help save your life is a must should you be stranded in the middle of the road. It might seem like being paranoid, but it’s more about being smart, safe and prepared since it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
Finish All Preparations the Day Before
It can be a real bummer to realize that you left something important back at home when you’re already in the middle of the trip. While you can always stop and buy the forgotten item along the way, planning ahead will save you time and money.
At least a day before the trip, have the necessary items – from snacks to entertainment options to blankets all packed up and ready to go in the car. This would also ensure that all of your bags and the luggage of your companion would fit realistically in the car and save time from trying to stuff in all your items on the day of the trip.
You should also get a good night’s rest and have a good meal before leaving. Anything that could slow down your reaction time or your ability to make quick decisions should be avoided the day before leaving so avoid kicking off the road trip with celebratory drinks the night before. Even without a hangover the next day, you might still be more tired than you realize.
Load Up Your Entertainment Options.
Long drives can get boring at some point which means you would need entertainment. Many people these days aren’t satisfied with listening to random music or infomercials on the radio. Thankfully, technology allows us to keep ourselves entertained over the long hours of being on the road.
Bring your own playlist to the trip. If you’re using your own car, you probably have a phone charger port that you can plug into the console to keep on jamming throughout the drive. You can also listen to your favorite podcasts or even some audiobooks but be careful not to have it so loud that it becomes a distraction.
Having a DVD player or other handheld electronic games as a source of entertainment is also handy if you’re traveling with children. Since they get bored quickly, these gadgets would keep them distracted.
If you take the time to make the proper preparations before the trip, you can make sure that you won’t just survive but also relax throughout the ride. After all, road trips are supposed to be fun. A safe journey and the right attitude will bound to create memorable road trips.