May 20 2014
With the holiday weekend just days away, many people are planning their first weekend road trip of the summer. And while a spur of the moment road trip might seem like a great idea, a little advanced planning will get you to your destination on time and in a safe manner. Below are eight driving safety tips to help you plan a successful road trip.
- Find cheap gas – Gas money can take up a significant amount of your road trip budget so plan ahead. With today’s technology, there are plenty of smart phone apps that can tell you where gas is least expensive. Download an app like GasBuddy to help you find the least expensive gas. If you don’t have a smart phone, figure out your gas budget ahead of time by using one of the many online fuel cost calculators to help you find the cheapest gas stations along your route.
- Pack a basic repair kit – Create your own basic repair kit by packing a few basics in a small box or duffle bag. Include items like a flashlight, roll of duct tape, pliers, and a variety of screwdrivers. Check online for roadside survival guides for other suggestions.
- Choose companions wisely – When you’re cramped in a car for a long amount of time, you can get to know someone really well. And if you and your companions know each other really well, time and distance will fly by you and you arrive at your destination in what seems like no time. But if you make poor choice in your travel companion(s), a long rind may have you wishing your traveled by yourself. Think carefully about the people you take with you. Make sure you can get along with them for however long the distance you’ll be traveling. Nothing can ruin a good friendship like a bad road trip.
- Break up the drive – If you’ll be on the road for many hours, don’t try to be a super hero and drive straight through. You won’t be as alert at 9:00pm as you were at 6:30am. Plan several restroom, stretch and snack breaks along your route. A 15-20 minute break every few hours will be good for your mind and body. If you have multiple licensed drivers traveling with you, take turns driving every couple hours.
- Know the law – While you may be excited to get to your destination, a hefty speeding fine or another moving violation can drain your travel budget in a hurry. Additionally, speeding can be a danger to you and to other motorists on the road. Obey the speed limit and use that cruise control to keep a steady pace on the interstate. Also, if you are passing through multiple states, be aware of cell phone and texting laws. It is best to avoid distracted driving all together, but if you must use your phone, know the laws. Some states do not allow the use of phones in construction zones, school zones, etc. Use your stretch breaks for non-emergency phone calls and texting. Do not text while behind the wheel.
- Pay attention to the dash – Besides minding the speed limit, your dash can alert you to any potential problems with your vehicle. If something goes wrong, a warning light on your dash may tip you off before it is too late.
- Bring a paper map – With today’s technology, it might seem silly to bring a paper road map on your trip. But what will you do if your GPS malfunctions where you’re in the middle of nowhere? A paper map makes the perfect backup and you can use it as a travel log too. Write notes about your trip on the map and make it personal. You’ll enjoy looking at it when you dig it out of a box 10 years from now.
- Bring your mother-in-law – Even though we warned you to choose your travel companions wisely, what can we say? If you bring your mother-in-law, you’re trip is sure to be one to remember for one reasons or another!