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Smart Tips to Prepare for a Road Trip

Another summer season is on the way, and drivers will be hitting the busy roads for weekend getaways and vacations with the family. With tighter budgets, more people will likely opt for travelling adventures by road rather than flying. Whatever the season or the reason, lengthy road trips warrant their own careful planning and precautions, to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey in a variety of conditions and circumstances.

Nobody wants to be stranded on the side of a highway or have their trip thwarted as a result of poor planning. Don’t leave anything to chance when venturing off, as overlooking something can have an enormous impact on the entire experience. Talking with a trusted car dealership can provide plenty of tips and advice for your particular make and model.

Preparing the Vehicle

If it’s been longer than six months since your last tune-up, schedule a vehicle maintenance appointment before hitting the road. A professional will know what to look for, but be sure to have the following items checked to ensure optimum performance and safety:

  • Fluids filled and filters checked
  • Tire tread and proper inflation (as well as a spare in the trunk)
  • Hoses and belts for loose connections or leaks
  • Brakes
  • Headlights and turn signals
  • Battery;
  • Cooling/Heating systems
  • Wipers (bring a spare pair to change if they’re getting old)
  • Gauges
  • Alternator
  • Spark plug wires

Prepping for the Trip

Travelling alone carries its own considerations, and you will need to prepare for being self sufficient in any situation. Whether travelling solo or not, making the effort to be prepared could make all the difference.

  • Plan and research your route beforehand rather than getting caught by surprise in construction zones, detours, and weather fronts. Keep current with traffic construction and weather websites.
  • Alert loved ones you know of your departure, travel route, and estimated time of arrival and return.
  • Avoid posting on Facebook that you are out of town; sharing this with all your ‘friends’ is a good way to advertise no one is home.
  • Stock up on extra food and water, medicines and supplies, blankets, flashlights and a survival kit.
  • Stay connected by bringing your cell phone, and a GPS to avoid getting lost.
  • Have cash on hand in case of the need for a tow, food or supplies etc.
  • Prepare for being able to change a tire, by having a spare, a jack and a wrench. If needed, brush up on your knowledge of how to change one.
  • Pack a few extra supplies, such as tire sealant, a role of electrical tape, and tools such as a screwdriver and pliers.

While on the Road

  • Maintain clean windows and headlights; dirty windows can increase glare and dirty headlights can reduce their effectiveness by 50% or more.
  • Turn your headlights on one hour before sunset and after sunrise to make it easier for others to see you in the tricky lighting of twilight and early dawn.
  • Avoid long trips of night driving when tired, as darkness is the natural time for drowsiness to set in. To stay alert, keep the window open for fresh air, play upbeat music, take breaks or brisk walks, or have a caffeinated beverage to keep your edge.
  • When driving at night, peripheral vision is compromised so keep your eyes scanning the road side, corners and intersections for oncoming cars, pedestrians in dark clothing, objects on the road and animals suddenly crossing.
  • Take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and clear your head.

A few precautions can help ensure a safe road trip for everyone. Get out and enjoy the journey!

This is a guest post from Anne Fleming of Women-Drivers.com™, the #1 resource for women drivers connecting them to Certified Women-Drivers Friendly™ car dealerships nationwide. Don’t buy your next car without checking this site out and learn more about Her & His Car reviews, dealer reviews, and all the educational tips and tools you need for an informed purchase to get the best deal. Visit Women-Drivers and download your free copy of Women’s No Stress Guide to Buying a Car.

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