Few things are better than a sunny day, your favorite playlist, some good company, tasty snacks, and the open road. Who doesn't love a good road trip? However, far too many road trips have taken turns for the worse due to blown tires, breakdowns, and other unforeseen problems. So how can you help to ensure your road trip goes off without a hitch? Here are eight tips to keep in mind.
8 Ways to Prepare for a Road Trip
Consider these eight ways to prepare for your next road trip and avoid common pitfalls.
1. Check Your Tires (and Bring a Spare)
We've all seen the bummed people on the side of the road with a blown-out or flat tire. You may have even been that person at some point. You can prevent blowouts and flats on a road trip by checking your tires before you take off. Here's how:
Ensure you have enough tread on all four tires. If you put a penny in the tread upside down and can see all of Lincoln's head, it's time for a replacement.
Look for any signs of trouble like bubbles or bulges, and replace tires if needed.
Consider getting your tires aligned and balanced before a trip if it's been two years or more.
Ensure the tire pressure in all four tires is right for your vehicle, often between 30 and 35 PSI, but check your manual.
As you head out, it's also a good idea to have a spare tire — just in case. Plus, you'll need roadside assistance or the know-how and tools to change it yourself.
2. Inspect Your Brakes
Brakes are pretty important — to say the least — and you will be using them more on a road trip. To ensure your brake pads don't have excessive wear that could result in a failure, it's a good idea to have them checked. Brakes should be inspected at least once every six months.
3. Consider an Oil Change
Are you due for an oil change soon? If so, you might as well take care of it before your road trip. If you won't come close to hitting the mileage milestone required for your next oil change, don't worry about it. Either way, it's a good idea to check all of your fluids and fluid levels before taking off.
4. Test Your Lights
Your headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and brake lights will be important on a road trip. They ensure everyone around you knows what you're going to do. You can also end up with a ticket for non-functioning lights, which is a major buzzkill on any road trip. So, perform a quick check to make sure all your lights are in working order.
5. Get a Tune-Up
If you're not mechanically inclined, it's not a bad idea to schedule a tune-up with your mechanic before a long road trip. That way, they can perform a safety inspection and make sure you don't need any repairs so you can drive with confidence and peace of mind.
6. Check the Weather and Roads
Bad weather can turn a fun road trip into a nightmare. Depending on the situation, it could be dangerous and result in delays and detours. Being so, keep an eye on the weather and road conditions all along your route so you won't be caught off guard. You can check both online.
7. Have Your Papers
While it's always important to have the required papers in the car with you, it's even more important on a long road trip far from home. Ensure you have your license, registration, proof of insurance, and the contact information for your roadside assistance provider (if you have one).
8. Get Enough Rest, Food, and Water
Lastly, long drives can be exhausting. You may start out feeling great, but after five or so hours, you'll likely begin to feel strained. So plan out your trip carefully starting with the night before. Ensure you get seven to eight hours of sleep. Plan breaks to eat, drink, and rest. Consider taking turns with other drivers when possible. And don't push yourself beyond what's comfortable, as drowsy driving can be very dangerous.
Hit the Road and Stay Safe
By taking a few extra steps before you head off on a road trip, you can help to ensure you have a good time and stay safe. If you want to go a step further and sharpen up your driving skills, you can consider a defensive driving course. These courses teach you how to be a more aware and safe driver and can help you get a discount on your insurance.
Take the online defensive driving course and hit the road with confidence!