The Essential Guide to Road Trip Safety
Winter or summer, weekends or holidays, road trips are a great way to escape the tenure of everyday life by spending quality time with friends and family. However, on road trips, drivers are faced with new responsibilities – their safety and the safety of their passengers. To help you stay on course, here is the essential guide to plan, prepare and execute a road trip with safety in mind.
Plan Your Route
The number one thing on your pre-road trip to-do list should be navigation. Plan your route, set it on your GPS or phone, and configure a GPS tracker. You should have an alternative to your device and transfer the same map to at least one more passenger. Additionally, you should store a paper road map in your glove compartment and plan for alternative routes if you encounter problems on the road that require you to change direction.
Take Care of Yourself on the Road
Long road trips can be very tiring for drivers. It is essential to make timely stops on route to your destination. Depending on your experience, regular stops should never be more than four hours apart from each other, even if you are on a tight schedule. Drowsy driving is the number one cause of all accidents. So, in addition to regular stops, you should also plan for an overnight stay at the lengthier stretches of your journey.
Eyes on the Road
Mobile phones are becoming an increased danger to safety because they shift drivers’ attention away from the road. Even though you should always avoid using your phone while driving, you can set up a phone holder on the dashboard. This frees up your hands while still giving you a chance to accept incoming calls.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Besides your first-aid kit, which is mandatory by law, you should also pack an emergency kit in your trunk, enabling you to react in unexpected situations. Simple everyday home items, like a flashlight (with an extra set of batteries), water bottles, matches, a Swiss knife, and a solar phone charger, will serve you well in case of an emergency. In addition, you should also bring a basic tool kit and a pair of jumper cables.
Prepare Your Car
Your vehicle needs to be in peak condition before going on a road trip. These long drives can put extra strain on your car, so it is vital to go to a mechanic before your trip, especially in case it has been a long time since your last visit. If you are unsure about the condition of your car, ask your mechanic to do a complete checkup. Ask your chosen professional to make his main focus the car’s engine, braking system and electronics, and to change the oil and hydraulic fluid, if necessary.
Make Sure Your Wheels and Tires are Safe
Car wheels pull additional RPMs during an extended drive, which they don’t regularly achieve during your city commutes. This, together with a weight imbalance and tire pressure, can decrease steering and manoeuvrability, both in two and four-wheel drive. Taking your car to wheel repair services experts for a complete wheel inspection will resolve any issues and increase safety. Additionally, it is good to check the wear and tear of your tires.
Prepare for Winter Conditions
Despite the best efforts of road maintenance crews, mountain roads can still get covered with snow and ice on the road in winter. Even after choosing a pair of winter tires for your car, make sure you have a snow chain in the trunk. Additionally, pack an ice scraper, a small road shovel, and add extra antifreeze just before you go.
Remember, only you are responsible for the safety of everyone in your car! So, expect the unexpected, and be prepared for anything. A bit of planning and groundwork is all you need to be ready and to have a smooth ride the entire length of the way.