Be prepared before a road trip

With spring not far away, many people plan to discover new places or re-visit familiar ones


With spring not far away, many people will be planning road trips, to discover new places or re-visit familiar ones.

Road trip vacations – some lasting only a day or two, others lasting much longer – are on the rise, giving people an opportunity to slow down, share time together, and experience new adventures.

However, the best-planned road trip can hit a snag if people are not adequately prepared for the worst-case scenario. Most people know to have extra supplies in their car during the winter months, but being prepared is good advice at any time of year.

For example, many people rely on smartphone apps and GPS technology for maps and turn-by-turn instructions; but what happens if you lose service? A good old-fashioned paper map will help you get where you’re going if technology fails you, so grab one before you go.

Car break-downs – sometimes for extended periods, and far from any help – can happen at any time of year. Make sure to have water, snacks, jumper cables, a screwdriver, tire jack, tire iron, and a properly inflated spare tire.

If your break-down happens at night, it’s important to have a reliable light source.

Many people pack a flashlight in their car, then forget to check the batteries and replace dead ones. Consider a flashlight that runs on an alternative power source, such as one that can be wound up to provide constant power.

Most vehicles now come equipped with child safety locks, but parents can often forget to activate them. If you’re traveling with youngsters who are naturally curious and like to use their hands to open things that they shouldn’t, make sure to activate all of the child safety locks in your vehicle before you set out.

Many “road warriors” love to drive long distances, but lengthy road trips can lead to drowsy or distracted driving if one person does all the driving. Share the driving duties with another responsible driver and give each other a break from time to time. It means that both of you get an opportunity to rest, relax, and enjoy the scenery.

If you’re going “off the beaten track”, leave a plan or itinerary with someone back home, and tell them when you will be home. If, during your journey, you decide to check out the road less travelled and alter your plan, make sure to let someone know.

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