Getting away from home and hitting the road is something we all need every once in a while. It’s a chance to escape the mundane and infuse your daily life with adventure and excitement. But planning a road trip also comes with a lot of responsibility.
Not only do you need to make sure that everyone is comfortable during the ride, but you also need to think about everyone’s safety, especially if you’re planning a longer drive. Fortunately, a little preparation goes a long way in ensuring a cozy and safe commute for everybody involved. Below, five road trip tips you should take into account so you can hit the road with confidence.
Get your car ready
The first step you’ll need to take if you’re planning a long drive is to ensure your vehicle is road-worthy. This is definitely not the time to skimp on repairs. If anything needs to get fixed or simply looks a bit funky, tackle it sooner rather than later.
When giving their vehicle a once-over, a safe driver will check everything from tire pressure to brakes to lights. They’ll also make sure they’ve stocked up on gas, and that they’re always carrying a spare just in case. Ideally, you’ll start preparing one month in advance, addressing potential issues and, therefore, preventing any mishaps down the road.
Get ready yourself
Having a road-worthy car is important, but so is being ready yourself. No one likes to plan for contingencies, but doing so is an essential part of the process. Being prepared can help you avoid the most common road trip mistakes so you can stay safe and comfortable.
Start by creating a list and packing everything you might need in advance. Plan your route by keeping in mind the weather and road conditions. Leave nothing to chance, and prepare a first-aid kit as well. Bring enough water and plenty of healthy snacks, and pack some blankets and pillows to keep you warm and cozy.
Stay safe and alert while driving
Planning your trip is one thing, but once you’re on the road, that’s when you really need all the attention. Staying focused while driving is crucial, even more so when it comes to longer road trips.
Statistics show that driver fatigue and distracted driving are just as dangerous as driving while impaired or speeding. These account for some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents, with DUI accounting for around 40% of car crash fatalities on U.S. roadways every year. Prevent exhaustion by getting enough sleep the night before, and pull over or switch drivers if you’re feeling drowsy.
Incorporate frequent rest stops into your drive
Sitting behind the wheel for too long doesn’t only take a toll on your focus and energy levels. It also leads to feelings of discomfort. Some drivers may experience numbness in their legs along with back pain. This only highlights the importance of incorporating frequent rest stops into the drive.
Rather than making the mistake of driving for several consecutive hours, take a break every two hours or so. Get out of the car, stretch your back, and walk around a bit to prevent leg cramps. You can do this each time you stop for a meal or when viewing different places and tourist spots.
We already mentioned the perils of distracted driving. From screaming kids to constant bickering to repetitive questions such as “Are we there yet?”, there are a multitude of factors that can impair driving and cause driver fatigue. Not only do they take your attention off the road, but they can lead you to miss important road signage. There’s also a chance you might lose control of the vehicle, putting both yourself and other drivers at risk.
One way to combat this common problem is to prepare entertainment beforehand. Browse online for some fun car games you can play during long drives. Alternatively, you can rely on coloring books, puzzles, or smartphone games to keep the little ones busy and entertained.
Multi-day trips are exciting to plan, but when it comes to the actual commute, they can be a literal pain. That said, there are several ways to tackle the challenges of long-hour drives and make the most of your road adventure. Keep these tips in mind when hitting the road next time, and you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that every one of your future drives is a safe and comfortable one.