Living in the center of the country and having our “international” airport be a secondary airport in the eyes of the airlines we tend to do a lot of driving either because a location is just as quick to reach by driving (example: Nashville is a 10 hour drive; it is also a 10 hour flight if you figure in rising at 3 am to catch a 5:30 flight, layovers and wait time) or because flights out of another city cost so much less (at least $200 per flight to make it worthwhile). Here are the tips we follow to make our road trips smooth:
You want to make sure your vehicle is up to the trip. Proper maintenance is essential to safety. A few key items to check before you go:
- Tire pressure (Consider having your tires filled with nitrogen, especially if you live in colder areas, as nitrogen doesn't expand as much in cold weather.)
- Do you need an oil change or will you need one while you are gone? Have it done before you leave. Be sure to mention to the mechanic that you are preparing for a long drive; most will do a free inspection.
- Washer fluid. There is nothing more annoying than not being able to clear your windshield- especially if you're behind an 18-wheeler on the interstate and it's raining/snowing/melting.
I am a member of AAA, mostly for piece of mind but the special savings for members (when I remember to use it) is really nice. Their TripTik is also a great benefit. It maps your route, points out gas stations, hotels and places of interest.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged or you have a car charger.
- If you are going someplace new to you be sure to have a map. Sure, GPS is nice if you have it but it's not foolproof.
- Maps are also very handy for summer road trips- or as we refer to it: road construction season. Get off the highway.
- Send a copy of your itinerary to a friend or relative. Just in case.
- For winter driving we always have spare blankets, heavy coats and extra mittens for everyone.
- It never hurts to have a few bottles of water and a few small, non-perishable food items in the car.
Do you have any safety tips for road trips? Please share in the comments!