Nov 20 2013
Whether you’re hitting the road for Thanksgiving weekend or taking an extended road trip over your kids’ Christmas break our road trip and travel tips will help you get to your destination safely and easily.
Make sure your car is road trip ready. Before you even set out, make sure your car is ready for the trip. Have it thoroughly serviced. Get an oil change, check the breaks and fill all fluids. If you’re not sure what else to have checked or serviced, look on line for car maintenance checklists. If you don’t know how to change a flat or jumpstart your car, learn before you leave town. When you’re on the road, keep an eye on the dash. If any warning lights come on, take your care to a professional to have it checked out.
Download helpful apps. Before loading the car, download helpful apps that will assist you along the way. Consider Breakdown Lane which will instantly show you a map of the closest mechanics and their customer ratings no matter where you might breakdown in the country. GasBuddy is another helpful app which will help you find the cheapest gas at gas stations along your route. Also, download traffic and weather apps.
Bring plenty of music, but turn the radio on, too. With today’s technology, it is easy to create your own playlists of your favorite tunes. Be sure to bring plenty that you can jam too when the road ahead seems especially long and boring. Also, take time to turn on the radio. The radio will offer local news. The traffic and weather updates will be especially helpful. But the local radio stations are also a window to the world around you whether you’re passing through a small town or a big city. You might even learn a thing or two about your surroundings as you pass through.
Check the weather. Depending on where you are traveling, the winter weather season may be in full swing between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dangerous winter weather might influence what route you take. Check the weather forecast along your route before you hit the road, and then tune your radio to local stations for weather updates as you travel.
Have a driving plan. Once you’re on the road it is helpful to have a plan. Switch off with another licensed driver traveling with you so you don’t get too tired behind the wheel. Also, plan frequent stretch, snack and restroom breaks. Finally, think about your car. Don’t drive at a sustained high speed all day long. In some parts of the country the speed limit increases dramatically in the middle of nowhere. The wind resistance increases significantly with speed, so when you’re driving at a higher speed than normal it places a huge demand on your engine. Stick to 55-65 mph and you’ll prolong the life of your engine.
Back off the throttle in the mountains. If you’re taking a long road trip, chances are you’ll cross a mountain range somewhere along the way. Back off the throttle when you’re going up a mountain. There is no law that says you must maintain the same speed traveling through the Rockies as you did across the plains of Kansas. Your engine has to work a lot harder to get you up the mountain. Slowing down a bit will save wear and tear on your car and engine. It will reduce damage caused by overheating and improve your gas mileage. And if that isn’t a good enough reason, there are plenty of tight curves and steep hills in the mountains that do not have guard rails.
Don’t drink and drive. It may be the holiday season, but drinking and driving don’t mix. You’ll have plenty of time to celebrate the holidays when you arrive at your destination, so get there safely.
Have fun. No matter what might happen along the way, remember to relax, have fun and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.