How to Safely Plan a Roadtrip
It’s that time of year again. School is coming to a close, mother nature has cranked up the heat and many families are busy planning a roadtrip. But not so fast! Before you put the pedal to the metal and map out your long journey to Disney, there are a few tips and tricks every driver should know.
- Complete a Vehicle Maintenance Checklist
It’s your responsibility to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive at all times. Check your oil level, windshield wiper fluid, tire pressure, tire tread, wiper blades, A/C, etc. before you seriously commit to planning a roadtrip and booking places to stay.View the Top DriverVehicle Maintenance Checklist here.
- Pack a First Aid Kit
You really never know when you might need one, so it’s best to err on the side of caution, especially when roadtripping. Medical necessities include different size bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, wound cleaner, tweezers, hand sanitizer, hypoallergenic tape, sharp scissors, and gloves.
- Ensure Emergency Car Repair Items are Stowed in the Vehicle
You can’t predict when your car will break down or have a flat tire, but you can pack accordingly so that if this happens on your cross country roadtrip it won’t completely ruin your fun. Have peace of mind in knowing you have the essentials to navigate to your destination safely, should the unexpected occur. These items include a spare tire or tire sealant, flashlight, reflective markers, jumper cables kit, duct tape, and extra batteries.
Read a recent Top Driver blog post, ‘How Do You Properly Change a Tire.”
- Keep an Emergency Contact and Medication List Handy
Are any of your family members taking special medications? Do they have any known health issues? Plan for the worst-case scenario. Should your family get into a collision and become unconscious, it is best practice to have an emergency card in the vehicle. This can be on a bright colored post-it note inside a ziplock bag in the vehicle or in the emergency flap of a child car seat. Regardless, it should be easy to find for emergency response teams. In addition to any critical care information include name, age, gender and, if possible, blood type of each passenger.
- Seatbelt Cutter and Window Breaking Device
You hope to never use it, but your life could depend on it. This tool can be used interchangeably to cut seatbelts and break windows when a hasty exit is needed. For about $6 you can rest easy knowing you have what you need to escape an emergency situation.
- Keep Multiple Cell Phone Chargers in the Vehicle
Kind of a no-brainer, but worth mention nonetheless. Pack extra cell phone chargers should one become lost, broken, or stolen. You can’t call for help if you don’t have battery life.
- Pack ‘Old School’ Paper Maps
At some point in your roadtrip you may lose cell service. Have a map for each state you will be traveling through — a paper map never freezes, runs out of battery life, nor does it spontaneously malfunction.
Traversing the country by car can be a fun and transformative experience. A road trip is family or friendly bonding at its finest and provides opportunities to see different landscapes and cultures. Remember to slow down and enjoy what’s around you. From the evolving topography and atmosphere to the company of your loved one in the passenger seat, enjoy what’s near.
View the 20 most popular road trip destinations here.
Do you have any good roadtrip tips that didn’t make this list? What are they? We’d love to hear them! Just leave us a comment below.