Whether you’re planning a daring adventure across Europe or voyaging across one of the tried and tested great roads of the US, a road trip offers a feeling of exploration and sightseeing that’s easily missed when you’re travelling by plane, train, or boat. The opportunity to follow your whim and stop where you like can lead to some truly unique experiences.
However, driving can be dangerous and the longer you have to drive, the greater the risk. So, it’s important to make sure that you take safety seriously both before and during your road trip with the tips below.
Make sure your wheels are good to go
You might have faith your car can get you from A to B, but a road trip involves a lot of driving. It’s much more strenuous than what your wheels might be used to. For that reason, it’s important to have a full health checkup with your mechanic before you set off.
If you’re competent with your own vehicle, then you can learn more about the checks you have to make yourself at https://www.hotcars.com/25-things-to-check-on-a-car-before-they-go-wrong-on-a-road-trip/. Few checks are more important than your tires since they’re going to be dealing with the brunt of the stresses caused by long drives.
Have a route planned out
There’s nothing wrong with going off the beaten track from time to time (so long as your vehicle can deal with it.) After all, road trips are about exploration and they wouldn’t have much of it if you weren’t able to improvise from time to time. However, that doesn’t mean you should set off without a route planned.
Use sites like https://roadtrippers.com/ to highlight the important steps ahead of you, including places to sleep, places to eat, and occasionally places to simply stop and rest for a little while. You should always be able to find your way to the next gas station, too, to make sure you don’t get stranded. Don’t forget to buy or update your GPS before you head out, as well.
Keep an eye out for the weather
It doesn’t matter how sunny or calm it might be when you set off. Road trips tend to be extensive vacations that see you out and about for much longer. The weather can change a lot during that time. When you plan your route, estimate how long it’s going to take and look at weather forecasts for the duration.
Check the weather regularly when you’re on the road, too, taking the opportunity at stops to check using your smartphone or the local weather stations on the radio. Keep in mind tips for driving in adverse weather conditions, too. Don’t drive too fast, give yourself more space between your vehicles and others, and keep an eye on your blind spots. If possible, try to sit out bad weather driving by finding a stop you can chill at, too.
Take plenty of breaks
Indeed, beyond places to eat and sleep, you should already have plenty of places where you can stop and take a breather. As used to it as you may be, driving is mentally demanding and over long distances, it can be hard to maintain your focus without a place to stop from time to time.
The optimal set-up is to have someone who can switch seats with you and take over the driving while you relax in the passenger’s seat or the backseat. Otherwise, be willing to stop every couple of hours even if there’s nothing to stop and see. If you’re starting to feel tired, it’s worth finding a place to rest or even catch a quick nap. After all, drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
Know who to call
You have to be prepared for the eventuality that you might get into a bad situation on the road, even though you should be doing everything you can to prevent it. That means knowing who to call in the event of an accident, a breakdown, or some car trouble.
For that reason, make sure that you bring not only your own phone but a fully-charged spare, and a charger. Have a list of numbers, such as legal help like https://bayoucitylaw.com/personal-injury/ if you get in trouble. You should also have your breakdown service and local mechanics on the list, as well as a member of your family you can inform if you get in some trouble. Don’t forget to report to the emergency services and your car insurance provider if you get in a collision, too.
Manage the risk of breaking down
Knowing how to deal with a breakdown, as shown at https://blog.unhaggle.com/10-steps-staying-safe-break-road/, is vital, as well. Most important is knowing how to keep your car safe when it’s stuck on the side of the road. Packing a high visibility jacket and high vis cones that you can place around the car can mean that other vehicles are much more aware of your presence. In general, try not to get out of the vehicle unless it’s completely necessary as its offering you some protection from the traffic.
Be ready to deal with any emergency
A spare phone, charger, and high-vis gear aren’t the only things you should make sure you pack. Beyond your general travelling luggage, you should have an emergency kit ready in case things go wrong on the road. Recommended emergency kits like the one shown at https://traveladdicts.net/roadside-emergency-kit/ include a host of items to help you get back on
the road, like a spare tire kit and a jump cables.
However, you need to make sure that you and your family can be kept safe and comfortable if you need to wait for some help. Warm clothes and blankets, some spare food and water, a flashlight, and a first aid kit can make sure that you can take care of yourself if you need to wait for too long.
A road trip doesn’t necessarily have to be dangerous, but it’s never wise to voyage out without a good idea of what the risks are. Keep the tips above in mind and always be mindful of the dangers of the road.