Planning a road trip in the near future? Before you get behind the wheel, there are a few safety steps you should take to make sure you and your car are ready for a major road trip. We have a few tips to keep you safe.
1. Don’t Settle for Minimal Insurance for Your Road Trip
Take a few moments to look over your auto insurance policy before your big trip. You can use online auto insurance guides to figure out whether you need more coverage and to confirm what is currently protected by your policy. You can also find information about insurance laws and minimum requirements in specific states. Just try to make coverage a priority when choosing a policy.
While driving with the minimum may seem less expensive, figuring out the right coverage for you will actually cost you far less in the long run, especially if you do have an accident on the road. Like many of us, we get comfortable with a particular company or service, but if you’ve had the same car insurance company for years, you might think about shopping around to find a better price, not to mention overall rating/customer satisfaction.
While you’re reviewing insurance policies, take a moment to review your credit score. Your credit score reflects your ability to manage money effectively, and it can tell a potential lender a lot about how likely you are to repay a loan, if offered. Auto insurance companies also review your credit rating and will offer members with better scores lower rates.
2. Do Take Care of Any Needed Repairs and Maintenance
Depending on where you’re going, the elevation gains can really take a toll on your vehicle if it has not been properly serviced. As you plan your road trip preparation tasks, make sure an appointment with your mechanic is included. You can figure out what work needs to be done to clear your vehicle for a safe road trip. Lights, tires, and fluid levels should all be inspected, and any repairs should be made before your big trip. It’s also smart to have your brakes checked out and to let your mechanic know of any potential signs that your brake pads need servicing or replacing.
There can be a lot to do to get your vehicle ready for a road trip. If you’ll be traveling with friends or family, consider delegating tasks to others in order to reduce your stress before the trip. Perhaps one person can take the car to the mechanic to get it inspected while another handles the first aid kit and chains. Use your fellow travelers’ strengths to assign tasks. For example, if someone has a connection to a repair shop or is really knowledgeable about cars, make them in charge of getting the car tuned up and ready to go.
3. Don’t Travel Without Emergency and First-Aid Essentials
Even with proper maintenance, accidents and emergencies can happen, so make sure you are prepared to stay safe during these stressful situations. You should stock your car with survival essentials, like plenty of bottled water, snacks and blankets, in case you get stranded by weather or car problems. That kit also needs to include safety tools, like a reflective vest to keep you visible on the road and flares to alert other drivers to an emergency. When traveling, it’s also a good idea to keep a first-aid kit handy, even if you only end up using it for minor scrapes and cuts.
4. Do Make Sure Your Car Is Equipped for Inclement Weather
If you plan on making a mountain escape, you may need to complete some additional preparations for your car. Start by checking out local forecasts and conditions before you depart so you can get a feel for any snow or rain potential. You should be fine with a good set of windshield wipers during warmer months, but if you plan on visiting in the winter or early spring, know that snow chains may be required.
5. Don’t Drive While Distracted
A well-maintained car can provide only so much safety. As a driver, you not only have your own safety in your hands, but also that of your passengers and other people on the road with you. That’s why it is so crucial to practice safe driving habits and avoid distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, those behaviors include texting or talking on a cell phone, adjusting your radio and paying attention to other passengers. Your focus should always be on the road if you want to avoid an accident.
Prepare Everyone for a Safe Trip
No matter where your travels take you, having a reliable, safe vehicle is important. Being a safe driver is just as important, so make sure you plan and prepare well ahead of your trip so the only memories you have to worry about making are happy ones!
This article is a guest post by Dean Burgess.