More than 90% of survey respondents indicated plans to take a road trip in 2022, according to one Outdoorsy report. However, for those traveling through the US for the first time, navigating long-winded roads for hours can make for a daunting trip at best, especially with the potential dangers (such as unpredictable weather) involved. Thankfully, there are ways that you can gain peace of mind — from properly preparing your vehicle to the information you should have on hand, here are just a few ways you can prepare for a safe road trip.
The importance of vehicle prep
Due to the extensive amounts of driving that are often involved with US road trips, vehicle maintenance and preparation is key when it comes to safety. With that in mind, areas of preparation include checking the vehicle’s battery, lights, fluid levels (oil and coolant), and belts and hoses. This can be done through a professional mechanic, though some aspects of vehicle preparation — such as tire safety — can be done yourself. For example, while inspecting your tires is already recommended at least once a month, doing, so before a long road trip will ensure that your tires are well inflated and possess good traction — if not, you’ll need to get them changed before hitting the road.
Preparing for the worst case scenario
When it comes to preparing for an all—American road trip, planning ahead for the worst-case scenario, while a stressful thought, can certainly pay off should an unforeseen event strike. It’s worth mentioning that in addition to ID, vehicle registration, and car insurance, resources like paper road maps and automotive manuals can also come in handy in an unforeseen event like a breakdown, though planning ahead for scenarios like a road accident should also be considered as well.
Due to the general risks of road travel, unfavorable weather, and the unpredictability of what you may encounter while on the road, planning how you’ll handle a difficult event — like an accident — can save you time and guesswork in the grand scheme of things. For instance, simply having the number of a reputable accident lawyer on hand will ensure that you have a trusted ally to aid you through any legal processes. Not only will this help you with understanding your options in the event of such an incident, but having a lawyer on standby will aid in preventing getting taken advantage of by an insurance company, and will overall aid in helping you make informed decisions during the aftermath.
Packing the essentials
When packing for a long road trip (especially the classic American road trip that involves crossing several states, or a cross-country trip), having the essentials organized and on hand is imperative for a safe drive, whether you’re traveling solo or with a group of friends.
That said, while deciding on what to bring can be a stressful challenge, there are a few things that should always make the list. A first aid kit, battery-powered radio, and basic automotive tools (jumper cables, toolkit, etc.) are just a few necessary things that should be in the vehicle with you while keeping additional emergency supplies — such as food and drinking water, can also come in handy in a variety of situations. Furthermore, due to the variety of weather conditions present throughout the United States (aka sunny California vs. chilly Maine), packing essentials like cold weather clothing and tools like an ice scraper and tire chains can help ensure you’re good to go, depending on the route you’re taking.
Planning to go on an all—American road trip can make for an idyllic experience of multiple states. However, it can be extremely difficult to know what to pack, or how to prepare. By preparing for the worst-case scenario, ensuring you pack the essentials, and getting your vehicle serviced ahead of time, you can ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time out on the road.