If you have ever been on a road trip before you know that it’s more than just an activity—it’s a mood.
When the urge strikes just to load up the car and keep on driving, hitting every landmark and destination you can think of on the way, you just want to have fun and spread your wings.
Road trips are all about the journey, and never about the actual destination because you’re going to see so many things along the way.
Even if you are a spontaneous person who loves to load the car and go, you really need to consider planning a little bit of the journey.
You wouldn’t decide to jump in the car without it being safe—would you? If you would, it may be worth questioning that yourself.
Are you aware of how car runs? Do you know what it means to replace the lowering springs? If you can’t say yes to either of those things with total confidence, then you shouldn’t be road tripping just yet.
You need to have a little bit of planning so that you can ensure that your car is outfitted for optimal safety to ensure that you’re not going to get stuck on the road.
With this in mind you should consider all the things you must do before you hit the road.
- Make sure you speak to a mechanic. You need to get the oil changed and have them check out the battery and the tires of the car. If your filters need to be replaced, then that should be in there too.
Most mechanics will be able to do a tune up for you before you get on the road and it’s one of the best ways to ensure safety. You don’t want to pay for services that you don’t need, so get a second opinion if necessary.
- Watch your tire pressure. One of the things that you should consider before you head on the road trip is your tires. If it’s been a while since they’ve been checked for their pressure levels, turned to ensure they are meeting the right side of the road, and even replaced entirely if that red is too shallow, then you really do need to get these replaced.
Not only do you want to avoid a flat tire while you are on the road, but you want to insure the car’s fuel economy. With better tires you will have a much easier gas economy, and that means that you need to spend less money on your gas on the road.
- Learn how to change a tire. If there is one thing that you don’t want to happen on this trip is being stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire and no way of changing it.
The good news is that with the birth of YouTube, you can pretty much learn anything you need to know about your car without having to go to a class to do it.
Keeping a spare tire in your trunk and having all the equipment you need such as a jack and something to undo the details of the hubcaps, will help you on the side of the road if you are in the middle of nowhere and you don’t have any phone signal.
- Get some roadside assistance. We just talked about changing your own tires on the side of the road, and that’s handy if you’re in an area that doesn’t have any phone signal. But what about breaking down on the highway?
Ensuring you are covered with roadside assistance is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. You don’t want to run over a jagged piece of glass or have any car troubles that can leave you shaking your head. It’s hectic enough to try and deal with being on a road trip never mind with your car breaking down.
Roadside assistance can give you that luxury of having somebody to save the day before you can even pull out of the drive.
- Make sure that you print everything off. It’s a clever idea to have your phone loaded with everything that you need as well as a spare charger and a couple of extra cables in case yours breaks. But printing everything off in terms of your destination and maps to get there is going to help you on your way.
If you cannot get an Internet signal, you could find yourself disabled in the middle of the road with no way of getting any help. With that in mind you should also have a spare phone with a fully charged battery switched off in the back of the car.
- Pack food. When you are on a road trip, you’re obviously going to go on a snack run to ensure that you have snacks and drinks along the way. Make sure that you bring a couple of bags as trash cans, and you can dispose of those in the appropriate receptacles along the way.
When you know that you are getting where you need to be, you can feel happy that there is food at every destination. In between, it’s smart to have some food in the trunk of the car just in case you need it.
- Map out gas stations. We’re talking about car safety here and knowing how far you will be in between gas stations will help you to decide whether you plan your journey around those.
Not only do you need to ensure your car is full of gas on the way, but you also need to have somewhere safe to go if you need to use the bathroom, pick up extra water, or refill.
These rest stops are also likely to have somewhere for you to get your head down for the night if you are too tired to drive. We all know the dangers of driving when you are sleepy.
- Plan your itinerary. When you are heading out on a road trip and your car is in good condition, you then need to put together an itinerary of where you are going, where you are stopping, and then you need to give a copy of this itinerary to a friend or family member.
This way, you can drop them a text or a phone call at every location that you have circled, and they will be able to track whether you are safe. It’s one of the best things you can do if your Internet stops working because you then cannot update on social media wherever you are.