Taking a road trip can be an adventure. Maybe you're going to cover countless winding back roads, or perhaps you are planning to stay a little closer to the highways. Either way, safety should always be a priority. Here are six tips to help you get from point A to point B safe and sound.
Secure All Cargo
This means all cargo in the vehicle, not just the suitcases. Ideally, you don't want to stash cargo in the passenger compartment either. If all of your gear won't fit in the back, consider adding a cargo carrier to the top of your vehicle. They hook into rooftop systems, like the Subaru Crosstrek crossbars.
Not all cargo belongs in a suitcase either. If you are traveling with pets, they should be in seat belts, carriers, or behind a divider. This is as much for your safety as theirs. In the event of an accident, a loose animal can become a dangerous projectile inside your car. You wouldn't dream of driving off without your kids belted in, so don't do it with your pets either.
Pack Enough Supplies
This goes beyond your clothes or gear for the trip. Make sure you have snacks and drinks, music or audiobooks for when there is no cell or satellite service, and even some games or puzzles for passengers or when you need to take a break. You might want to stock up on emergency supplies like a blanket and pillow, flares and jumper cables, and a first aid kit too.
Have Your Car Serviced
You want to make sure your car is ready for the trip too. Do a walk around and check that all the lights and signals work as they should. Check your wiper blades and the appearance of your tires. It is also a good idea to take your car to a mechanic before you leave on your trip as it can help you avoid breakdowns along the way. This, of course, is in addition to making sure that all routine and scheduled maintenance is completed. While every mechanic will have their own list of items to check, they should at least cover these items:
- Fluid levels, including oil and coolant
- Brake wear
- Condition of hoses, belts, and caps
- Tire pressure and tread wear patterns
Plan Your Stops
Even if you decide to book hotel stays at the last minute, at least have an idea where there are safe and clean hotels along your route. There are several reasons for this. First, knowing the exits where you will or can stop for the night allows you to pace your driving. You may realize that you actually do have time to stop and see the world's largest rocking chair along the way. Or maybe you'll just be able to divide the time behind the wheel up more evenly between drivers. Another advantage to knowing where hotels are is that you can plan to stop once you start to feel tired, distracted, or drowsy. If you don't know how far it will be between possible stops, you may find yourself nodding off on a long stretch of road.
Bring a Map
There may be times on any road trip where your GPS or cellular signal is too weak to provide directions. Having a paper map or road atlas with you, and knowing how to read it, could save the day if you were to get lost or make a wrong turn in one of these remote areas.
Get Some Rest
This is an incredibly important part of any road trip. Driving tired can be very risky, and can be avoided or minimized with proper preparation. So, go ahead and turn in early the night before you leave so you can start your trip fresh and ready to hit the road. If you feel tired while you are on the road, find a safe place to stop and rest until you feel refreshed.
Road trips can produce memories you will carry for years to come. Following these six safety tips can help ensure you get wherever you are headed safely so you can enjoy them.