This is the time of the year for going on a long road trip! While this is a time for fun and relaxation, your vacation could turn into a nightmare in a matter of seconds. A car crash or even a simple flat tire can stress you out and ruin what could have been a memorable time away.
Before heading out on a long road trip, make sure that you follow these steps to ensure your safety while on the road.
1. Check Your Vehicle
If your vehicle isn’t running in good condition, you can’t expect to get to your destination safely. Therefore, it is important to check your vehicle a few days before going on a long road trip. Perform regular maintenance procedures and get a tune-up or oil change if you haven’t done so in a while.
Also, make sure that your battery is in A-1 condition. Your tire pressure should also be checked before you head out. If you are unsure of how to do these things, you can always hire a qualified technician to do the job for you.
There are some basic car maintenance skills that you can do your own, though. Adding windshield wiper fluid is one. Changing or rotating tires is also another.
2. Prepare an Emergency Kit
You don’t want to end up in the middle of nowhere without any access or way to contact for help. This shows the importance of preparing an emergency kit. Some of the things you should have in your car are listed below:
- Spare tire that should be properly inflated
- Jack. The spare tire will be rendered useless if you don’t have a jack for mounting it onto the car.
- Reflector. This is a requirement in many countries, especially those in Europe. Put the emergency reflector several feet behind your car so that other drivers will be able to spot you.
- Fire extinguisher. The chances of a car ending up in flames are quite remote if you’ve performed proper maintenance, but you’ll still want a fire extinguisher handy.
- Tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, Allen wrenches, and duct tape in case you need to perform a car repair
- Tire gauge
Aside from those car-related items, you should also bring the following:
- Maps or GPS, so that you won’t get lost
- Credit card. In case you get short of cash, a credit card can help you pay for roadside assistance.
- Cellphone and charger
3. Avoid Distractions
As detailed by a notable car accident lawyer, distracted driving is considered the top cause of car accidents in the United States. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that distracted drivers caused up to 9 deaths and a thousand injuries per day in 2018 alone.
There are many causes of distraction while driving. Mobile devices, food, and even your passengers can distract you while behind the wheel. While road trips provide an opportunity for families and friends to catch up with each other, you should avoid doing anything more than talking when you are driving. Keep your eyes and focus on the road!
4. Get Enough Rest
It can be very tempting for you to stay behind the wheel for as long as you can so that you can get to your destination in the shortest time possible. But driving for long stretches without taking a break can be very dangerous.
Remember that driving requires concentration, which can be difficult to maintain if you are sleepy or fatigued. It is, therefore, important to make frequent stops to give yourself enough rest. A good rule of thumb to follow is to take a break every two hours. The break should be at least 15 minutes.
5. Stay Updated on Weather Information
Sure, it’s summer, but you never know when a thunderstorm can happen. It is wise to download an app on your phone to keep tabs on weather updates for the area where you are headed. It can also help you in planning an alternate route. Of course, the good ol’ radio should also help you keep track of weather disturbances.
Going on a long road trip with your friends and family members is fun and memorable, but you want to stay safe while you are away from home. Follow the tips above, and you should get to your destination with no problems!