Road Trip Safety

  Summer is winding its way toward fall but there is still plenty of time for a vacation! If you want to avoid airports and the expense of flying or train travel, consider a road trip. Road trips are popular with couples, families and groups of friends. They allow you to get off the beaten path and see more of this country than any other kind of travel, and traveling in your own vehicle is much more comfortable than being crammed into a plane, train or bus. It’s more economical too. As long as your car get good gas mileage, or better still, you have an electric or hybrid, you will save a lot of money. Road trips create great memories, can be educational and will allow you to discover the beauty and hidden gems of our great country. Ready to hit the road? Great, but first there are some things you need to do to make sure your trip is a safe one. Remember, it will be just you and your vehicle out there. While solitary road trips can be wonderful, it’s generally better to have a companion or two, and don’t forget the furry ones! Road trips make great vacations for dogs, as long as they enjoy car trips and arecalm and friendly around strangers. Read on to learn more about how to make sure you road trip is safe and memorable for all the right reasons!

Preparation

Before you leave, make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape. Get a tune up, oil change and have your tires checked. Inspect your spare and repair or replace it if necessary. Stock your trunk with jumper cables, spare antifreeze and wiper fluid, a spare fan belt and spark plugs , tire patch, a jack, and a small tool kit. This should be enough to get you back on the road after most minor break downs. Replace your windshield wipers if it’s been awhile and check your air conditioning. You’ll also want to map out your route and update the maps for your GPS. Make a copy of your planned route and leave it with a trusted friend or relative. Should the worst happen it will help locate you. Along with supplies for your vehicle, stock up on some for yourself. Bottled water, non-perishable snacks and a first aid kit are a must. Finally, remember emergency supplies like flares or triangles, and a white or orange flag to tie on your car-these will help other motorists see you should you break down on the road. You can also buy signs you can place in your windows that say “CALL POLICE”. They may come in handy if you breakdown in an area with no service or your phone malfunctions or suffers a dead battery.

On the Road

Once you’re on the road, try and keep your cell phone and/or tablet charged at all times. Get in the habit of checking the forecast frequently and get off the road if severe weather is expected. This is especially important if there is a tornado watch or warning. Do not try to out run a tornado or ride one out in your car. Be alert when using rest stops. Stick to well-lit and heavily trafficked ones and keep your doors locked and valuables hidden. Always keep your phone on your so you can call for help if necessary!