Typically traveled by automobile or a car, there is nothing as appealing as a road trip, what with the sun behind and wild, open spaces before you. You already know it, don’t you? Was your last road trip both fun and safe?
While road trips are certainly liberating and full of cheerful conversations, refreshing music, and thrilling sightseeing halts, they also require careful preparation to make them safe.
So, will not you like to make safety a priority while planning your next road trip?
Here are 5 ways to stay safe on your next road trip:
1) Get Yourself Ready –
Preparing yourself thoroughly for your forthcoming road trip is undoubtedly a must. While doing so, you need to consider several significant factors. These include familiarizing yourself with the route you’d be taking and with the local regulations of that place, checking the weather forecast in advance, and packing roadside necessities.
Make sure to inform your loved ones where you’d be traveling and sleep well, particularly in the nights just before your trip. Test the working range of your cell to verify that emergency operators are reachable from wherever you’re driving. Also, wear appropriate clothing while setting out, for experiencing the utmost comfort on the road trip.
Devise your route and plan to carry a map along. The reason is that though today, a smartphone provides you with maps and step-by-step instructions, you’ll need a physical map to guide you if you end up losing service or your phone altogether. You must understand the local driving laws of your road trip destination. For instance, in France, you can’t smoke with a minor sitting in your car.
Check the weather conditions along your route a few days ahead of your trip and also on the “D-Day”. For example, check for snow before setting out to drive in high mountain passes such as Colorado’s Independent Pass, or gauge the possibility of encountering sandstorms before taking the wheel through the dry, flat Texas desert.
Make certain you fill your backpack with all possible roadside essentials. Water, healthy, travel-friendly snacks, a flashlight, blankets, pillows, and a well-equipped first-aid kit must go in your knapsack. Besides these critical items, also ensure that you have other necessities like jumper cables, tire chains for traction, a screwdriver, a durable, spare tire, and an emergency tool kit handy.
2) Get Your Car Ready –
Equally important for smooth sailing is preparing your car for the road trip. For instance, if you’re planning to drive in hot weather, you might require a very adhesive motor oil. Also, keeping a functional, spare tire helps greatly as driving for long distances with an under-inflated tire is likely to cause a dangerous blow-out.
Hire a skillful mechanic to do basic checks for oil, coolant, filters, lights, signals, wiper blades, batteries, brakes, and tire pressure. Plan a minimum of one month ahead of your road trip for unanticipated repairs. Also, equip your car with a good-quality universal roof rack to carry your camping gear.
If your next road trip involves traveling with children, make sure to enable your car’s child safety locks on every door and window. This way, even if kids push buttons out of curiosity, they won’t endanger themselves. It’s also a good idea to have a child-friendly seat in your car.
Last but not least ensure that your tank is at least one-third full. Knowing the location of the nearest gas station isn’t always easy, so, having an ample quantity of gas amid exit points helps.
3) Avoid Overspeeding At All Costs – Just because you’ve planned for emergencies doesn’t mean that you ought to encounter them. You’ll want to avert them! So, make a point of following the rule that overspeeding is a strict no-no. The more you’ll speed, the less time you’ll get to react, likely proving injurious or even fatal.
On your next road trip, make safe driving a priority. Watch your speedometer and don’t talk on the phone while driving. Distractions can reduce your focus on safe driving and you could, unnoticing, overshoot the highest speeding limit. This way, by being cautious and alert, you can share the road space with others mindfully, making their as well as your journey easy and safe.
If you’re worried that you’ll reach your destination late, instead of speeding up inappropriately, plan to start ahead of time. On a wet road, keep a distance of not less than four seconds from the vehicle directly in front of you.
Look out for road hazards like debris, standing water, and piled-up snow. Pullover, if you find it difficult to drive because of tailgaters or bad weather. Just stay inside, using your hazard flashers for the other vehicles to see you.
4) Use Gas Smartly –
Constantly rising gas prices deprive you of substantial spending money while on your road trip. So, it only makes sense to have an efficient gas mileage. Estimate your fuel expenditure for the trip and fill your car tires with optimum pressure. If possible, purchase gas during the day, when it’s coolest, because, at this time, you’ll get the densest possible gas.
Try to drive at a moderate, steady speed, like 55 mph. This way, you’ll save nearly twenty percent more on gas versus driving at 70 mph. Also, when accelerating from 0 to 60 mph, take about fifteen seconds to accelerate, thus saving thirty percent on gas mileage.
If you’re driving at a high speed, make sure to close the windows, since open windows reduce the gas mileage by approximately ten percent. Also, avoid traveling on uneven or rocky roads, as they drop gas mileage by about thirty percent.
Place the automated gearbox in neutral if you need to wait in traffic standstills. This cools down the gearbox, saving on gas. Also, freeing your car of additional weight prevents the reduction of gas mileage.
5) Take Sufficient Breaks-
On your next road trip, plan to break for fifteen minutes every couple of hours. Although taking such driving breaks will delay reaching your final destination, don’t neglect the fact that your body requires rest periods.
While taking a break, stop at a well-lit rest stop so that you can stretch your legs but without falling asleep. Listen to music, else roll the window down to unwind. Drink water, have a bite nearby and attend nature’s call. If you’re traveling with kids, a driving break also lets them relax.
You can also take driving breaks by sharing the driving with other, licensed, responsible driver/s who’ll accompany you on your next road trip. No point driving when you’re feeling bored or drowsy. It can certainly prove dangerous. So, share driving responsibilities, thus giving each other an occasional rest period and avoiding driver fatigue.
So, now you know how to stay safe on your next road trip. Start preparing right away!