Going on vacation in the form of a road trip can be an exciting adventure. Since you're behind the wheel instead of being flown from point A to point B, you have a lot of flexibility and the chance to be spontaneous. A road trip means getting to see parts of the country you might not otherwise get to see, and being able to stop off in charming small towns, national parks and other scenic areas.
Road trips also require special safety considerations, however, especially if traveling solo. In order to enjoy your road trip in the safest manner possible, here are five safety tips:
While it can be tempting to get up super early to hit the road and put in as many hours as possible toward your destination, being well-rested is a critical aspect of any safe road trip. When sleep-deprived you are a safety risk to yourself as well as those that you share the road with. Only start each day of driving after a full night's sleep, and make frequent stops to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Stop for the night before you actually get tired to avoid the danger of trying to stay awake by the wheel.
Stow Away Your Valuables
In order to discourage would-be criminals, be sure to pack away any valuables so that they're out of sight and hard to access when you stop for gas, to eat, or for the night. Ideally, you will be able to carry anything of financial value into your hotel or other lodging each night instead of leaving expensive items in your car. To protect your actual vehicle from theft, try to always park in well-lit spaces, ideally in a spot you can easily see from your hotel window.
Communicate with Friends and Family Back Home
While you may be drawn to the idea of just totally getting away from it all on the road, don't unplug entirely. It's best for at least one close friend or family member to know your whereabouts, route, and general itinerary. Sending a quick check-in email or group text at the end of each day lets the people who care most about you know where you are and that you are safe. You can even download a road trip tracking app that allows those you trust to see your general location and follow your road trip progress.
Sign Up for Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance is an invaluable service, especially when you have a road trip planned. For an affordable monthly fee you get the peace of mind of knowing that you can call the roadside assistance number and have help show up very quickly in a variety of situations. Roadside assistance can help if you get locked out of your car, get a flat tire, or if your battery dies. This means it can be the difference between you being stranded on the side of the road, and safely back in the driver's seat.
Keep a Disaster Supplies Kit in Your Car
In case of an emergency, it's important to have certain items with you on the road. You may never need to use them, but it's best to be prepared. The Red Cross recommends a disaster supplies kit containing plenty of water and non-perishable food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a map, and other useful items. Once you gather and organize these items you can simply stash them in a box in your trunk or back seat.
By following these tips, you will be able to enjoy the open road without sacrificing safety.
Are you preparing to put your teenage son or daughter behind the wheel of a car for the very first time? Is your car ready for that? Having gone through this myself three times, I have created a checklist of things to inspect on my vehicles before allowing my kids to learn how to drive in them. I have worked with my mechanic to create a pre-driving inspection that can ensure that my kids are as safe as possible as they learn how to drive. Take a moment to visit my site and learn a few tips that can help keep your teenager safe while learning to drive.