Road Trip Safety Tips – How to Plan a Successful Road Trip

The Road Trip has become an international institution. But whether it’s immortalized in literature, celebrated in cinema or captured on home video, the fundamentals remain the same: people traveling from point A to a distant point B via some form of vehicle. Here are some helpful road trip safety tips for your journey, whether you’re following Kerouac, finding yourself or ferrying the kids to Disneyland…  

Road trips come with enough unavoidable variables without making even more for yourself. Make sure that your vehicle is ready for the road! If you haven’t recently taken it in for a tune-up, now’s the time. Once the pros are finished sticking their noses under the hood, check your tire pressure and look for small leaks that may pose a problem down the road (literally). It’s also essential that you check your battery life but your vehicle’s fluid levels are very important too. Keep an extra quart of oil in the trunk, just for good measure.

Plan your route, whenever possible. Depending upon the time of year, weather may affect your choices but additional factors to consider are construction zones, road closures, events and holidays, as all of these things can affect traffic flow and volume. Remember that winter tire and chain signs in BC are still in effect until March 31, that means winter tires are mandatory to travel through these areas. Timing is an important factor as well. Avoiding city rush hours can greatly affect your drive-time. Even when you do your research, it’s good practice to have backup routes planned too – just make sure that they’re punctuated by service stations and rest stops.

Day vs. Night
There are pros and cons worth considering when deciding what time to leave the house. Many drivers prefer the red-eye strategy, which is a good way to avoid traffic congestion but night driving comes with inherent risks like visibility, temperatures and sleep deprivation. If you’re determined to get the jump on the traffic, leave early in the morning, not late at night. It’s better to be well-rested for the longer legs of your journey. If you’re travelling with another driver, take turns behind the wheel, switching regularly, not when you’re already yawning and blinking. If there’s no need to push yourself, then don’t.

Changing Conditions
Road tripping takes you out of your comfort zone into roadways and environments that are unfamiliar. Be aware that driving styles differ, depending upon the region, the vehicle volume and even the time of day. Be cognizant of these facts and adjust your driving accordingly. Keep an eye on speed limits, road conditions and how the people around you are operating their vehicles. Review our list of tips on winter driving.

Stupid  is as Stupid Does
That’s exactly what it is when drivers insist on operating their cell phones when they’re behind the wheel. Modern technology means voice activation has negated the need for handheld anything. If you absolutely must contact someone while you’re driving, do it on speaker phone. For calls or texts that require your undivided attention, pull over, stretch your legs and take care of business. If you’re concerned that you haven’t got the self-control to do the right thing, turn off your phone and place it in the trunk. It simply isn’t worth the risk.

Follow these basics and you’re bettering your chances of a beautiful journey. Safe driving!

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