Road trips can be a wonderful way to get away from it all, leaving your usual routine and surroundings behind in order to explore new places, visit family and friends who live far away, or simply try something different. The sky’s the limit with a road trip, and it’s no surprise that countless Americans are choosing road trips as their main way to travel in recent years.
One of the best parts about a road trip is that you get to be the boss. There are no complicated airline rules to follow, no flight or train schedules to keep up with, and no pre-planned, set-in-stone schedules that you have to follow. You’re allowed to pick where you go, what you do, and how you enjoy each and every day of the experience.
In the US, especially, road trips can be a lot of fun, because you can visit almost any other state by car. All you have to do is load up your vehicle with all the necessary supplies, get your family and friends ready to travel, and hit the road. From there, you can drive wherever you want, stopping off at eateries, attractions, and sites of interest along the way.
It all sounds idyllic in theory, but in practice, road trips can be a little more complex than that and do have some of their own risks and challenges for people to contend with. For example, driving long distances to unfamiliar places can increase your chances of having an accident, or you might get lost on the way. So here are some tips to follow for a safe family road trip.
Drive Safely at All Times
One of the biggest problems to think about when it comes to road trips is the fact that they typically involve a lot of driving. Even if you’re staying local and visiting areas in and around your own state, you may still have to sit behind the wheel of your car for many hours and navigate areas that you might not be familiar with.
So, one of the golden rules to follow is to drive safely at all times. Make sure you remember all the basics of safe driving, such as sticking to the speed limit (don’t forget that speed limits can vary from state to state), using your mirrors and signals before making turns or changing lanes, and obeying stop signs and traffic lights along the way.
Avoid Unnecessary Distractions
This is another key driving tip to keep in mind for your road trip. It’s really important to try and avoid any unnecessary distractions along the way. Distracted driving causes a lot of injuries and deaths every single year on American roads, and you could be held responsible for causing an accident due to negligence if you fail to keep your focus on the road.
There are lots of different things that could distract you while driving, from other people in the car making noise or creating arguments to things like your phone, GPS, or car radio. Anything that takes your eyes and attention away from the road could be a danger to your safety, so if you feel yourself getting distracted, make sure to pull over safely and take a break before continuing.
Take Breaks When You Need Them
Another thing about road trips that can be frustrating and challenging is the fact that you may have to drive long distances to reach your destinations. A journey that could be completed in less than an hour by plane could take you several hours in your car, and you need to be ready, willing, and able to drive for many hours to get to where you need to go.
But don’t feel like you need to simply drive the whole way to your final destination in one go. Part of the fun of road trips is the freedom to make stops and discover fun things along the way. So look out for towns, attractions, or other stops you might like to make along your route and take breaks as needed to let yourself stretch your legs and avoid driver fatigue.
Make a Plan
Many people love the spontaneity of road trips. You could be driving along the highway and suddenly spot a sign for a local theme park or restaurant and suddenly decide you want to stop there. Those kinds of split-second decisions and unexpected encounters are definitely a big part of what makes road trips so much fun for so many people.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least have some sort of plan before you set off. You need to have some basic ideas in mind of where you’re going and what you want to do on the way. This will give your trip some sense of structure and direction, helping you avoid getting lost along the way. And the best part is that, even with a plan, you can still make little changes and surprise stops along the way.
Pack with Care
Packing is never a particularly fun part of planning a vacation or road trip, but it’s one of those things you have to do, and it’s worth doing correctly. You might want to make a checklist before you go to make sure that you’ve got all of the items you need, and you can find sample checklists online if you need a little inspiration to get started.
When packing the car, place items carefully to avoid things rolling around and making noise or getting damaged along the way. Also, consider preparing a small emergency essentials kit with items that you might need if something goes wrong, such as flares, first aid supplies, blankets, flashlights, and so on.
Road trips can be amazing experiences for the whole family to enjoy, but in order to have the best possible time, you need to prepare properly and be ready for anything. Keep these tips in mind when planning your next road trip.