If you’re thinking of hopping in the car and taking a trip to an exciting destination, there’s so much more to remember than just packing the essentials. Everything from making sure the vehicle is fit for the drive to where you’ll stop on your journey are all crucial factors to consider when traveling hundreds of miles by car. All this information can sometimes be overwhelming and most often than not, you are probably going to forget something along the way. Unless you’re taking a last-minute getaway, preparation is key to making sure you are equipped for every eventuality, and helps to reduce those challenging times on the road ahead.
If you’re taking a road trip this year and want to be fully prepared for everything that this epic adventure might entail, take a look at some of these handy tips to make sure you are ready for anything.
Getting the car ready
Depending on what season you’re traveling in, there may be different preparations to be made. You need to consider when making sure the car is ready to take you on a long journey. Although whatever trip it is, you should be making sure that necessary maintenance is completed before setting off. There are many things you can check yourself, and that includes topping up levels of oil and water, but there is also a host of other elements to car efficiency that need to be checked. If you are unsure what to do, ask your local auto shop to take a look for you or get them to give you some pointers to ensure you know what to look for in the engine bay. Some of the most common fluid levels you need to check are:
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Radiator fluid
- Washer jet fluid
It’s not just fluids that need checking too; tires are another vital factor in keeping you safe on the road. Checking you have sufficient tread and keeping tabs on the air pressure help to keep your car fuel efficient and safe to drive. Over or underinflated tires can lead to issues with steering and maneuvering, which could in severe cases cause accidents.
Other general maintenance features should be checked on your regular service, but if you are overdue one, it’s best to take it to the auto shop before you head off on your trip. Areas such as brake pads, air filters and light bulbs are all essential parts that need to be in full working order to be safe and legal on the road.
Smart packing for your road trip
However long your trip is, you don’t want to be overloading the car with an overwhelming amount of bags and supplies. Instead smarter packing is vital for getting everything you need in a compact space. Of course, you need the essentials such as clothing, but you have to question whether you need to take ten pairs of shoes for a short trip. Dressing for the weather is also essential and checking what you might need when you arrive. If it’s warm at home, but you forget to do that all-important forecast check, you might you have sandals when you actually need boots on arrival.
Other important items to pack on a long road trip include:
- Music for everyone tastes
- Snacks (particular energy boosting ones in case of a break down)
- Games for back seat passengers
- Portable charger for mobile devices
Considering road safety and emergencies
If all is well and good, your journey will go without a hitch, and you’ll arrive stress-free at the destination, although sometimes this might not be the case. Emergencies can happen, and if you are fully prepared for a range of issues, you’ll be able to cope with the situation more effectively. Breakdowns are a common occurrence and may mean you have to wait around for hours before a tow trick reaches you, you might also be involved in an accident with another driver, which can put a hold on your plans. In these cases, it is vital to ensure you have the right insurance coverage before you travel and if you have to deal with the stress of a traffic accident, as you may have to contact them in unfavorable conditions.
In the event of accidents, it is always essential to ensure you get all the details of what happened and if there are any disputes, you can learn more about getting video footage from local traffic cameras to support your case. Safety is paramount when undertaking a road trip and taking some essentials in the car can also help in the event of an emergency. Items such as emergency road assistance kits from the AAA and jumper cables can help if the car breaks down. Also ensuring you have a mobile phone can help to make urgent calls if you are in signal range.
A long journey wouldn’t be complete without a rest stop every few hours. Planning your route and setting your GPS will help you get to the destination in the best time. Before you head off on your proposed route, checking the areas you could pull in and stop for a bite to eat will help schedule regular pit stops for rest breaks and food. These stops will also be a great chance to refuel and make sure your gas can has enough juice in case the worst should happen, and you run out. Rest breaks on long journeys are also essential if you are feeling tired so planning some time out on the route will stop you from getting heavy eyes. You may also want to switch drivers to avoid getting sleepy.
Whether you’re taking a solo trip across country or enjoying an adventure with the family, road trips can make some of the best memories as part of your vacation experience. To make it even better, just a small amount of preparation will give you that extra peace of mind when you embark on your travels.