Road trips are a lot of fun, whether you’re going solo or bringing along a few pals for an adventure. In light of the pandemic, people have had to adjust to new restrictions and ways to travel. Having your own personal car where you can be inside and secluded from strangers, you can still explore farther reaches from the glory of the road. As vaccines continue their rollout and travel regulations adjust, this becomes an even more attractive prospect for anyone itching to get out there.
Of course, you want to make sure that your trip goes scuff-free. So, steer clear of unwanted accidents and mishaps by heeding the following tips.
Check for existing issues in your vehicle
Prevention is the key here, and as much as possible, you’ll want to ensure that the car you’ll be using is in the best shape for the trip. Consider how long the ride will take and what terrain you’ll be going through. It’s also crucial to look at burgeoning problems that could cause a headache down the line, like an active “check engine” light, low tire pressure, or even cracks in your windshield. These seemingly small problems can eventually grow, not just affecting the look of your car but its structural integrity and efficiency.
For instance, a small crack or line down your windows may not bother you, but it’s going to significantly weaken the overall security you have while driving. On top of that, windshield repair experts note how many locations have a legal requirement that requires a replacement if you have large chips or cracks taking up more space than it should. It’s also a safety precaution as those can block your view.
Map out your route even if you use digital GPS
These days, people feel confident to travel sans map or firsthand knowledge of routes because of the popularity of GPS and driving apps. That said, it’s best to familiarize yourself beforehand so that you already know alternate routes and possible pit stops. It’s also good to keep this in mind if you have to pull over at some point.
You also want to make sure you have a mapped-out route if your devices with GPS suddenly malfunction or you have to cross any dense or secluded places.
It’s a given that you don’t want to find yourself tired, hungry, or in sudden need of having to pee and then not having any place to stop. All of these factors affect your mood and perception as a driver and account for your travel time. It can be much more efficient if you can pinpoint times and general spots where you know you can do a stopover, and it’ll be safe.
Breaks are important because of the physical aspect of driving, too. To prevent cramping up and feeling sore, stretch out and rest now and then. This also helps for long road trips, where you may need to sleep overnight or replenish some supplies used along the way.
Make sure you are well-rested
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has actually shared data showing that some of the most common driving behaviors resulting in fatal crashes include being distracted, lacking sleep, failure to yield right of way, and, of course, intoxication. A common thread with these factors is how they relate to your own response time and reflexes. If you’re feeling fatigued, you’re more likely to make mistakes or even fall asleep at the wheel.
Go to bed on time and get your hours in before you head out. If you feel drowsy, consider having someone else take the wheel.
Focus on the road
It may seem like a given, but many people don’t get to avoid hitting things or end up swerving into obstacles. This has also been highlighted by the NHTSA, particularly because it’s such a common form of human error. If you’re passing through densely covered areas or confusing pathways, it’s even more important to be keen while driving.
Often, distractions that get drivers include being on their phones and eating while driving. If you’re going to do any of those activities, just time it with one of your breaks.
Bring essentials for emergencies
You never know what’s going to happen. Naturally, you may not want to have any trouble at all, but it’s good to be prepared if minor issues arise. This way, you can prevent them from getting bigger and turning into something else altogether. Government bodies note that a good emergency kit should provide you with what you need in case of disruption.
Make sure you have first aid items, repair tools for your car, an extra map if you get lost, extra food and water, light sources, and a change of clothes.
Once you’ve got all of that sorted, you can hit the open road and bask in what the world has to offer from the comfort of your driver’s seat.