Going on a road trip, whether alone or with company, could be a thrilling adventure. Aside from the excitement you get just thinking of all the wonderful things awaiting you at your destination, the snippets of fun that can be had along the way also adds to the allure of spending time on the road.
Whether it is coasting along highways or winding down country roads, road trips are best enjoyed when you have the security and peace of mind that everything will flow smoothly. As such, it is important to remember that you run through a checklist to make sure that you (and your companions, if any) will have a fun, fulfilling, and safe escapade.
Here are some basic ones to keep in mind:
1. Make sure your car is roadworthy
First, you need to be sure that you will be safe on the road. This starts by having your trusty road companion – your car – go through a full safety check.
Listen to your car while driving. If you hear snapping, grinding, or humming noises while your car is in motion, steer directly to your nearest automotive shop.
Another thing to watch out for is unusual shaking or vibration in the steering wheel or the wheels. These can be signs of bad wheel bearings that can lead to car problems if left unrepaired.
It is crucial to have your car’s brakes, tire pressure, fluid levels, lights, wiper blades, and air conditioning checked as well. To be sure, it is always better to bring your vehicle to an authorized car care center for a comprehensive check-up. They use a checklist for inspecting the vehicle from top to bottom, inside and out. This means that they will check everything and won’t miss any important element.
Also, bear in mind that some things, like tensioner bearings and other internal engine concerns, can only be thoroughly checked by trained technicians especially with the help of advanced vehicle diagnostic software.
2. Prioritize safety
Knowing you’re safe just adds to the fun of taking on the road. Make sure to buckle-up before you step on the pedals. If you have children on board, make sure to take precautions to ensure their safety on the road as they have different needs than adults do.
Start by making sure that your little ones play with road-friendly toys (those that won’t pose any hazard inside the car) while on your journey. Another safer option is to encourage them to play more interactive games like Name that Tune or I Spy and other word or number games while checking out sign and sights on the road.
10% of fatal crashes and 15% of crashes resulting in injuries can be traced back to distracted driving. It is therefore crucial that you have your full attention on the road when driving. Refrain from texting, eating, drinking, and using portable devices that may take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel.
If you have companions who can drive, ask them if you can take turns driving so that you can also take a bite, hydrate, and get some rest in between. Always take advantage of pit stops, too, especially when you’re already tired and sleepy. This is also a good way to stretch your legs and take bathroom breaks as well.
3. Be prepared
Driving for long hours can take its toll on your body. You need to be mentally and physically prepared. Make sure you drink lots of water and have some handy, healthy snacks on board so you can eat when you take your pit stops.
Always have a first aid kit on hand. Bring prescribed medications if you or your companions have health conditions. Pack wet and dry tissues, a trash bag, and a heavy-duty flashlight, as well. Don’t forget to have discomfort bags handy especially when motion sickness strikes.
Also, pack a multi-device charger or battery pack with you. It is also a good idea to fully charge all your devices, especially phones, navigation equipment, or cameras before leaving. Check that they are working to avoid unnecessary stress as well. Don’t forget to bring a print out of the directions and a map as there could be some places when you won’t have Internet access or signal.
For your car, make sure you pack an emergency road kit, too. Even if you have a well-maintained vehicle and you brought it in for a check-up, it is best to be prepared for any eventuality. Consider packing flares, jumper cables, water (for your car), and other devices or tools that can give you peace of mind knowing you are covered when your car encounters any road challenges.
4. Follow the rules
Know and follow road rules. By being courteous on the road, you can lessen the risk of accidents and other road mishaps. Respect other road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, and other cars. Put a safe distance between you and other road users to avoid tailgating and to have enough response time in case an accident happens.
Putting the pedal to the metal and racing like a speed demon is best done on a safe, regulated, race track. Road trips are best enjoyed at cruising speed so you can bask in the beauty of the surroundings.
More importantly, do not drink and drive. Doing so will not only pose a risk for yourself but also for others inside and outside the car.
5. Enjoy the ride
When everything has been planned, prepared, and checked, it is time for you to sit back and just enjoy the ride. Whether you are alone or with your friends or family, a road trip is a great way to reconnect.
Veer away from using gadgets and taking work-related calls as much as possible or at least, allocate a set time for it. It is called a getaway for a reason, as the purpose of a road trip is to “get away from it all”. There is always a proper time for everything and it is just a matter of balancing and prioritizing which ones are more important.
Having the above-mentioned items and tips in mind, your road trip will surely have all the key ingredients for success. All you need to do is to make sure that you have an open mind and a ready heart to go forth and enjoy the ride.
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