Once the nice weather settles in, it can be difficult to ignore the call of the open road. Traveling to popular tourist destinations or just winding through the roads on your own with no real goal in sight, you’ll want to prepare yourself and your car to help get you there and back safely. Before getting started, research cheap auto insurance to save some money while still getting the coverage you need for a stress free, open aired journey.
Preparing Yourself: Unlike your car, you are not a machine! You will need to properly prepare yourself before setting out on your adventure. The first step is to get a good night’s sleep, after all, driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as driving chemically impaired. Charge your cell phone and a portable cell charger just in case. Gather all your audio books beforehand or be prepared with a satellite radio subscription to keep your enthusiasm high!
Use Gas Wisely: With gas prices at a record high this year, making the effort to save gas at the pump and on the road is prudent.
- Find the best gas price with a cheap gas finder app
- Purchase gas at the coolest time of the day when it’s the most dense
- Don’t carry extra things in the car you don’t need, the extra weight will reduce mileage
- Keep tires at proper air pressure
Preparing Your Car: While you’re on vacation, your car will be like your home away from home. Take your car to a trust mechanic for a tune up or check these items yourself:
- Coolant levels
- Lights, wiper blades, signals
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Spare time integrity
- Tire pressure
Always be Alert on the Road: Staying vigilant while on the road will keep you, your passengers, and other drivers safe.
- Pull over to the side of the road only if it is an emergency
- If you’re tired, drink water, roll down the window, take a break or listen to music
- Take turns driving
- Always scan the road for various hazards like construction, obstacles, reckless drivers, wildlife
- Keep the gas tank as full as possible, especially while between exits
Plan Your Stays Ahead of Time: If you know where you’re headed, check hotels in the area and make reservations ahead of time. Leaving this to chance could find you with no place to stay and extremely fatigued behind the wheel. Often, there are events you don’t know about that are happening in that area that could fill up all the rooms.
Buckle up: It’s a law in most every state in the nation, and it’s also the reason why people can walk away from an otherwise horrific collision. Since car wrecks are the number one cause of death in America for people up to the age of 54, it’s wise to buckle up, and have every passenger buckle up as well.
Have GPS Backup: The days of unfolding maps on the hood of a car might not quite be over. GPS is reliable, but not 100% and the farther you roam the more likely you are to run into a ‘dead’ spot. If you know where you’re going, take screenshots of the directions or have them accessible while offline. Collect paper maps and stuff them in the glove compartment – just in case.
Watch for Drunk Drivers: The number of drunk drivers on the road increases in the summer time. Every day, 28 people die in the United States in a drunk-driving related accident. This is good reason to protect yourself and your passengers by staying alert, and reporting a drunk driver if you see one (but not while you’re driving). Stay in the right-hand lane unless you’re passing, so you won’t be in harm’s way if another driver drifts into your lane.
Pack up the Tools: Will you be prepared in an emergency? There are roadside kits available for purchase or assemble them on your own:
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Reflective vest and triangle
- Rain poncho
- Car jack/lug wrench for changing a tire
Watch the Weather: The summer can bring some pretty intense weather conditions. Torrential rain, thunderstorms, tornados and hail can wreak havoc on your nerves and on your vehicle. Download a trusted weather app and turn on the notifications. If things start to look dicey, find shelter or an alternate route.
The call of the open road is a loud, provocative one. It’s the perfect time to set out for a family adventure. Make sure you’ve got everything prepared first, and be mindful of how to be safe on the road.