Road trips are one of the best ways to travel, especially today when it’s advised to skip public transport and places with a lot of people. When it’s just you, your closest family or friends and the road, you can experience all the freedom, adventure and excitement you need. However, one tiny mistake is all you often need to cause a real disaster when you’re behind the wheel. While your road trip will most likely go without any hick-ups, it’s best to prepare even more and ensure nothing but smooth sailing in front of you. How to stay safe while enjoying your road trip? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Inspect your car
Well before you start your road trip, it’s important to give some love to your car and check whether it’s road-ready. It’s best if you drive to your local garage, but you can also check your car yourself. A few things that need your attention are the tire pressure, tire treads, oil levels, fluid levels, wipers and lights. If you need to change your oil or top off fluids, do it then and there. If anything looks suspicious to you, it’s a great idea to take care of it before you embark on your adventure.
Prepare your GPS
There’s nothing worse than getting lost somewhere in the rural area of your country and seeing the night catching up to you. It can get really scary! If you get lost, you might get yourself into a dangerous area or get stuck in the mud or sand. But if you arm yourself with GPS, you can always know where you’re going and get to your destination in time. With GPS, it’s easy to find suitable stops, calculate your ETA and avoid congestions or closures. If you know you’re going to lose signal on your route, it’s a smart idea to print out your directions so you can still have a visual representation of your trip.
Learn all about emergency tools
A lot of things can happen on the road, and while most road trips go perfectly smoothly, it’s not a huge surprise if you happen to get a blowout or dead battery. If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on roadside assistance, use your own tools for the job. You can get a roadside assistance kit with many useful items like jumper cables, jacks, flashlights, a first aid kit, and many other things (it’s around $50 on Amazon). Watch a few videos on how to use each tool and you’ll be safe in any unforeseen situation. And the skills you learn for your upcoming road trip will serve you well throughout your life.
Invest in a car security system
Another thing to do well before you start your road trip is investing in a quality car security system. In many cases, you’ll have to leave your car on the road or park it at a different location from your accommodation overnight. A good car security system works as a two-way alarm that beeps at the car location and sends notifications on your phone or alarm key fob. It’s much more practical than just your car alarm going off somewhere blocks away.
Stock up on food
Driving on an empty stomach is not very comfortable and it can result in horrible cases of road rage. To avoid that, pack plenty of healthy and nutritious snacks like nuts, energy bars, fruit, and chopped veggies. Besides making frequent stops to rest and stretch out your legs, you can also stock up on gamer drinks that keep you focused, alert and hydrated all through your trip. Thanks to the nootropics and caffeine contained in these tasty drinks, you will gain the clarity that’s necessary for safe driving and good navigation. Running on fumes is dangerous both for you and your car, so don’t let your vehicle get thirsty as well. Fill up a small gas can and put it in your trunk in case you miscalculate your rest stops and get stuck somewhere on the side of the road.
Car buckles save lives. In many countries and states, it’s the law to buckle up, and where it’s not the law, it’s still a good idea to do so. In-car accidents, wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of serious injury by 50% and literally save your life. Make it a rule that everyone needs to be buckled up safely before you start the car.
Take frequent breaks
While driving, make sure to take the nights off and spend them sleeping. Driving while tired and sleepy is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs—it’s extremely dangerous. When sleepy, your eyelids will droop, your reflexes will get dull and you won’t be able to react correctly and quickly. And even if you think you’re not sleepy or tired, according to research, driving after being awake for 18 hours is the same as driving with 0.05% of alcohol in your blood (this percentage doubles after driving after 24 hours of being awake).
And sleep deprivation is not the only thing that might make you overly sleepy. Certain medications can also make you drowsy, but so can boredom or slow music. If you notice that you’re losing focus, make sure to chat with your passengers and roll down the windows to get some fresh air, but the best solution is to stop, stretch your legs or switch with another driver. The best way to cure sleepiness is by sleeping so always set some time aside for that pleasure.
Ensure everyone is entertained
Adults know how to keep themselves entertained, but if you’re travelling with kids, expect to hear one too many “Are we there yet?” questions. Kids throwing tantrums can be a serious distraction, so make sure they have many different things to keep them happy and occupied. Tablets with games and movies are a great idea, but you can also take a messier route and stock up on toys and crayons. Traditional car games are also a great idea.
If you do all of these things before you embark and while you’re driving, you will not only have a safe road trip but fall in love with the highway and make it a tradition to hit the road at least once a year with your family or friends.