There are ways you can avoid the above picture. If you don’t have Mad Max as your wheel man, there are certain things you go to make your road trip safe and hassle free.
Whether you’re by yourself, with your crew or your family, here’s some tips and suggestions for that six plus hour trip on the highway.
— Check your tire pressure before you leave and during. This is the most important guideline to follow. The correct tire pressure will give you peace of mind that you can prevent a flat and will improve your gas mileage.
— Take advantage of free car check-ups. Most dealerships can give your car a free and quick once over to see if you are good to go.
— Clean your car out before you leave. Get rid of the coffee cups, receipts, used tissues, hamburger wrappers and extraneous items from your trunk. Less clutter will make you organized so you can fit more things in for important stuff like camping equipment and luggage.
— Check that you have roadside assistance. While AAA has been the go-to for roadside assistance and discounts, most car manufactures and auto insurance companies offer their own. My MINI comes with an app for assistance, and my State Farm coverage covers the cost.
— Pack like you’re flying. Just because you have a lot more room to bring your stuff doesn’t mean you should. It’s all about being mobile and compact when your going to and from the car. I plan on getting some cases of beer from some Asheville breweries to bring back, so I’m using my carry-on bag and pilot case — that’s it.
— Bring a spare key. Back ups will save you the hassle in the rare case you loose them.
— Wear shoes and boots. It seems like a dumb suggestion, you want to avoid flip flops, crocs and other light footwear. You need something sturdy and supportive on your ankles for the constant gas and break use.
— Pick your music before hand. If you prefer to be your own DJ rather then letting the radio/Sirius dictate the mood, than find your old CD envelope and go nuts. You can use your phone’s Bluetooth to connect Spotify to the car’ stereo, but that will be a massive battery drain even if you’re charge and you might not always be in data range. Often the battery will drain faster than can charge.
— Turn off push notifications on your phone. It’s an unnecessary distraction to find out about some one liking your Facebook or Instagram posts. When you stop to take a break, then you catch up on texts and the like.
— If somebody is waiting for you, you can send them your location on Google maps. It’s a little stalkery, but it saves them texting you during your trip, “What’s your ETA?”
— Print out directions anyway. If you reply on the graces of Google maps for directions, the printouts are a backup in case your Samsung Galaxy Note explodes on you or you’re out of data range.
— Don’t drink alcohol for 24 hours before you leave. Pilots don’t drink the night before they fly or 12 hours. It takes 10 hours for alcohol to completely leave your system. You want your body in top shape for operating heavy machinery.
— Stop every two to three hours at a rest stop. Just like when you’re at your work desk, you need to stand and stretch.
— Go to the bathroom even when you don’t have to. You never know.
— Avoid drinking soda. While being the worst thing you put in your body, the carbonation and acids can irritate your stomach when you’re in a stressful situation like a traffic jam. Water or ice tea is the safest bet.
— Don’t be afraid to cruise in the right lane. There’s no need to speed in the left lane to make up for lost time. You won’t make much of a difference. Also, cops are ticketing more those riding the left. Relax in the right, enjoy the ride.
— Bring lots of change. While EZPass is readily available, you never know if you come to a toll that doesn’t accept it.
— Text friends/family when you stop. You just want to let know that you’re good in case of alien invasion.
— Be spontaneous. If you see a great landscape, pull off at a scenic overlook. Soak it in.