Posted by Justin L. on September 12, 2017
Going on a road trip this summer? While you’re busy making your packing list, there are a few other important things you should remember besides sunscreen (but please take that too -- and don’t forget to use it!). It’s easy to focus on your destination and skip some important details that’ll help make your trip a success instead of a potentially frustrating, expensive nightmare. Get the most out of your trip by attending to the following before you hit the highway ...
Nothing can spoil a road trip faster than car trouble. It goes without saying that if you’re driving long distances, you should do some preliminary work on your car to avoid problems that could cost you a fortune in money and lost time. Get a proper safety check (ideally from a qualified mechanic) that includes the following before heading out:
It's easy to forget that a car can be a dangerous machine when not operated properly. We tend to take this for granted, especially when we're on vacation. Please pay extra attention to the following:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a higher volume of holiday travelers, including a significantly higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers, cause nearly twice the number of automotive deaths during summer months than during the rest of the year combined.
The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day – summer vacation for most students – has been called "The 100 Deadliest Days" for teen drivers. Nine of the 10 deadliest days for youth on U.S. highways fall between May and August, with July 4th topping the list. Too much free time, distractions like texting, and too little driving experience also cause a greater risk for teenagers. Save your enjoyment of a cool beverage for when you reach your destination, and never drink alcohol, even a little, before a long trip.
Have you ever fought to stay awake behind the wheel? While vacations are supposed to be relaxing, road trips often require getting up early and driving for long stretches of time, which can lead to nodding off on the road. Here are some tips for minimizing your risk:
Ideally, a driver should be alert and focused behind the wheel, but there are plenty of distractions today that make driving more challenging than ever.
There are plenty of hazards to avoid on the road, but awareness is key to prevention. Stay within the speed limit and always choose an appropriate speed for the driving conditions – whether city, country, or night time driving.
Driving at night can cause issues not present during the daytime; add unfamiliar territory and the challenges increase. The further you can see down the road ahead of you, the more time you have to course-correct if a hazard should suddenly appear. If you have ever considered upgrading your headlights to HIDs, now would be an excellent time to do so. HIDs provide brighter, farther reaching light that can increase your reaction time to road hazards at night. Renting a vehicle? Consider choosing a newer vehicle with HIDs as standard equipment.
Are you prepared to drive in a sudden downpour? If an unexpected rainstorm occurs, you may find yourself driving in streets that become rivers, or coastal fog that limits visibility.
If you’re vacationing in desert or mountain areas, there’s a greater chance of encountering wildlife that could suddenly dart out in front of you on the road. An estimated 1.23 million deer-vehicle collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, costing more than $4 billion in vehicle damage, according to State Farm, the nation’s leading auto insurer. It’s better to hit your brakes than to swerve into oncoming traffic or other hazards at the side of the road. Drive at a safe speed and always be aware of your surroundings.
Vacations are meant to be a break from the norm; a chance to get away from it all and recharge. A trip ruined by a breakdown (either your car’s or yours!) could make your vacation memorable for all the wrong reasons. Remember the P5 rule: “Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance” -- take care of the necessities first and you increase your chances of having a relaxing, stress-free vacation.