Staying Safe on the Road: Tips to Having
a Safe Cross-Country Road Trip
Even before the days of historic Route 66, Americans across the country have loved the idea of a cross-country road trip.
The act of getting out onto the open road, rolling the top down on your 66 Mustang convertible, and riding off toward the western horizon with the sun hanging low has been an iconic scene in movies for decades. The allure might even seem too magical for some to fathom, but this is actually more common than most people realize.
Taking a road trip can bring you experiences that you might otherwise not have had if you stay in your own little personal corner of the world. In fact, in order to truly live life, you have to experience it. And experiencing the open road brings you closer to this realization.
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Here, we’ll detail a few tips for a long-distance road trip, and how to stay safe while you’re out there.
Prepare Your Vehicle
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a long-distance road trip is to ensure that your car is in tip-top condition. Because the last thing you’ll want to have happen is breaking down on the roadside, 500 miles from home.
To that point, while preparing your vehicle, you’ll also want to ensure that you have adequate insurance protection that includes roadside assistance and a towing package included with your auto insurance policy. If you don’t have this on your policy, shop for a new auto insurance quote and make the necessary adjustments.
When preparing your vehicle, the following checklist will provide a good starting point:
- Check tire pressure
- Check for proper tire tread
- Check all fluids and add fluid if needed
- Check oil and filter
- Ensure all brake lights are functional
- Ensure turn signals and headlights are functional
- Check for proper windshield wiper function
In addition to the checklist, you may also want to take your car in for a tune-up prior to taking any long-distance trip just to be safe.
Road Safety Tips
While on the road, and though you might be mesmerized by the passing scenery while you jam along to your playlist, you still have to keep safety in mind.
Most of the safety tips you’ll want to follow you were taught when you first received your driving license, and some of these rules to follow include:
- Don’t follow too closely
- Activate turn signals for every lane change
- Slow down to every stop
- Alert other drivers if your signals malfunction using hand-signals
- Drive defensively
- Check all mirrors and points of travel prior to turning into traffic
Additionally, you’ll also want to exercise caution and sound judgment while driving. Basically, don’t drive down “cool looking” roads just for fun, especially if a road is posted as out of service, or if the road is unpaved.
And finally, never pick up hitchhikers, as this is unsafe and hitchhiking is illegal in most states across the country.
Have an Alternate Route Planned
Often when you travel far from home, you won’t be aware of major road closures until you find yourself having to turn around or take a detour. And when you’re far from home, this can be quite unnerving.
In order to mitigate any issues with timing or with roads that might be under construction, plan an alternate route just in case any issues arise. Not only will this give you a little peace of mind, but you might actually stumble upon new points of interest that you might not have otherwise thought of or knew about.
Even if you want to get to your destination at a particular time, you need to consider the fact that sometimes things happen that prevent us from keeping an itinerary.
Taking a road trip brings you closer to experiencing cultures that you might have otherwise never experienced, and this is essential for forming a well-rounded perspective on the people and places that we’re all surrounded by.