Road trips can be an exciting adventure.
In addition to enjoying the sights and sounds of the road, road trips give you control over your own schedule and are often more cost effective than other forms of travel, although they do have their own set of risks.
Here are six tips to make sure you get to your destination safely.
Avoid Traveling Alone
While it’s not always possible, traveling with a companion can help avoid unwanted attention from other travelers. Additionally, another person in the car can help the driver stay alert and share driving responsibility.
Before you get on the road, make sure the vehicle is prepared for the trip ahead. Ensure oil changes are up to date, fluids levels are adequate and tires are properly inflated. A little prevention now will help avoid unplanned detours due to car trouble. Preventative maintenance should be done at least a few weeks before you leave in case your car needs something fixed.
While the fun of some road trips is spontaneity, spending some time in advance looking over the route is wise. Look out for busy cities to help avoid rush hour traffic and its frequent accidents. Also note any long stretches of the route that may not have quick access to gas, food and restrooms.
Let Someone Know Your Itinerary
Once you’ve planned out your general route, let someone know what time you plan to depart, arrive and any major stops you anticipate along the way. While a majority of people travel with cell phones today, car trouble, dead cell phone batteries, or rural routes without cell signals may leave travelers without communication unexpectedly. Let someone know where to look for you if your trip doesn’t go as planned.
Choose Stops Carefully
If you’ve looked over your route in advance, you will have an idea of the larger towns and cities on your route. Carefully consider when you will stop for gas, food, and restroom breaks. If you will stay overnight, make sure you have selected a hotel in a safe area. As you make your stops on your trip, consider whether there are other people around, whether the areas are well-lit and how safe you feel about the environment before you leave your vehicle. Your instincts are the best measure of whether there is something out of place. If you’re in doubt, keep going until the next safe opportunity.
Practice Safe Driving Habits
Car accidents are a frequent cause of injury and death. The most important step to ensuring a safe arrival is to practice safe driving habits. Use turn signals, obey speed limits and avoid using phones or eating while driving. It’s also important to be aware of other drivers who may be drowsy or driving under the influence. No matter how deserted the roads you travel seem, never drink and drive. According to attorney Mike Puterbaugh, a DUI may result in jail time, fines or probation.
Preparation, awareness and communication will make sure you safely get to your destination. Road trips are more enjoyable when you have less to worry about. Prepare for your safe arrival before your departure to ensure you get the most enjoyment from your trip.
I’m a freelance writer from Denver.