Road trips are a great way to see the country. You can also enjoy quantity time with family and friends as you travel. As with any form of travel, preparation is key. In addition, you will need to make good choices about your personal safety.
Don’t Drive When Your Tired
If you’re a high energy person in the morning, take your driving turn at that time. If you’re a night owl, drive the after-sunset shift. Keep the car comfortable and avoid overheating the car and your body. If you start yawning, make plans to either switch drivers, find a spot for a nap, or get a hotel room. Driving while tired can make you see things or cars that really aren’t there, lawyers call this the phantom car defense. Getting out and walking around is a great way to stretch your body and give your spine a break. It’s not the same as taking a nap. If you need to sleep, find a spot beside a truck stop to tip your chair back and rest. Even 30 minutes can turn you from a sleepy driver to a safe driver. Make sure to check with truck stop personnel about the best place to park while napping so you’re not blocking other vehicles.
Keep Your Phone Charged
When you pack the car, make sure you include your plug adaptor and phone charger. Even if you’re not using your phone’s GPS for the majority of the trip, it may become crucial quickly. If others in the car want your phone for games or other non-essential activities, make sure they can either leave it on the charger or find another tool for them to use. Protect your remaining battery at all times. Additionally, make sure you carry a flashlight for nighttime emergencies. Your phone battery is better spent helping you communicate.
Travel in Numbers
A traveling buddy can monitor maps, help you review the GPS, and keep an eye out for hazards. Looking like you don’t know what you’re doing is a great way to invite trouble. Your travel buddy can review the guide book while you drive and have a good start on your sight-seeing goals before you get out of the car. If you need to stop for fuel after dark, a travel buddy can help you keep an eye out while you’re at the pump and when you step inside to pay or use the facilities.
Fuel, Fluids, and Maintenance
You’ll want to get your vehicle checked out before you get on the road. Such a maintenance check must include the condition of your tires, all fluid levels, and brakes. Anything that’s noisy or that pulls slightly to one side or the other must be addressed before you get on the road. Once you’re underway, keep an eye on your gas gauge. If you’re going to be driving late into the night, don’t let the fuel get below half a tank. The gas station you need to visit may be closed on a long overnight drive. Save yourself the stress by keeping the gas tank topped off after dark.
Even with the best helper, there are things you need while driving. You may need access to your shades as the sun comes up, a stick of gum or a beverage. Keep a simple tote loaded with easy to access drinks and snacks on the floor on the passenger’s side so the co-pilot can quickly tend to the needs of the driver. The driver should not break away from the road ahead to look for a snack. You can also pack with an eye toward staying in the car in an emergency. Should you suffer a breakdown after dark, the last thing you want to do is get out of the car to look for a blanket. Keep emergency supplies in reach from inside the car.
Getting your car checked out before a road trip is the first step in a great vacation. The right travel buddy can keep you both safe and entertained. By packing smart, you can be safe during an emergency stop. If you’re tired, sleep.
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