Travel Life: Tips that Will Keep You Safe on a Long-Distance Road Trip
There’s nothing quite like hopping in the car, flipping on your favourite playlist, and riding off into the sunset to a place you’ve never been. This is a timeless experience… to be one with the road, self-reliant, and intrepid.
Though the American road trip will always be an iconic theme in popular culture, its glory days have sadly long since passed. Gone are the days where you could put rubber to the asphalt on a long stretch of dusty road, with little services in between. Today, our Interstate highway system connects us from coast to coast, from border to border, with dozens of services along the way; Road trips are really one of the hidden gems of traveling that many people all too often focus on the destination and not the journey getting there.
Thankfully, if you’re in the mood for a road trip, the open road is much safer than it once was. But, you should still take a few precautions before heading out on the road. Here, we’ll outline a few safety tips to get you to your destination and back home safely.
The first thing that you’ll want to do before ever heading out on a long-distance driving trip is to ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top condition. Additionally, you’ll also want to affirm that you have adequate auto insurance coverage.
Some auto policies don’t include roadside assistance or towing packages, and this is essential if you find yourself broken down many miles from home. Consider shopping around or compare auto insurance quotes and select a new policy if necessary.
Prior to heading out, you also need to ensure that your vehicle is good to go. Fluids, as well as tire inflation, should all be at proper levels. Consult the following checklist to ensure that you’ve verified the quality of each item:
- Tire inflation
- Tire tread
- Inflate spare tire
- Brake fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Oil and filter
- Windshield washer fluid
- Wiper blades
- All lights and turn signals
Once you’ve made sure that your car is in good working order, now it’s time to plan out your route.
If you want to keep a sense of adventure and play it safe, it’s best to plan out your route, and an alternate just in case you need to reevaluate or change course. You can still go “where the wind takes you” if you so choose, but having a sense of bearing and knowledge of available routes is the wiser choice.
Begin by plotting your route along with a map of the country. By using a map, you’ll be able to see points of interest and plan any stops along the way as well. You’ll also get a general idea of cut-throughs and which roads are main arteries and which ones might not be ideal for travel.
To play it safe, avoid dirt or unpaved roads unless these are the only paths that lead you to your destination. And, if you must travel a dirt road, pay close attention to recent and upcoming weather events that may have had (or will have) an impact on road conditions.
Do’s and Don’ts of Road Travel
Along the open road, there are a few rules of thumb that everyone needs to know. First of all, hitchhiking is illegal in most states, as is picking up a hitchhiker. This can present a safety risk to you and anyone you’re riding with, so avoid picking up hitchhikers.
Additionally, you may also come upon a stranded motorist. If this occurs, call ahead to the authorities prior to getting out of the car and let them know where the breakdown is. This is simply a precaution just in case the motorist is trying to run a scam.
Finally, keep your valuables in a safe place, out of sight. Always lock your car when at a gas station or store, and never leave your car running while you walk into a store. Ideally, it’s also good to travel with some means of protection. Experts suggest that you should ideally enroll for Free Pennsylvania Permit Practice Test to avoid any delay in getting the permit.
Whether you choose to bring along a personal firearm, taser, pepper spray, or anything similar, consult the laws over the course of your route so that you’ll be in compliance with local ordinances regarding traveling with weapons.
The open road is still a fabled journey in the eyes of some. While it can be a fun and illuminating experience, always remember to keep safety in mind so you can return home safely.