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Detour: 6 Crucial Road Trip Car Tips

Updated July 24, 2014

Road trips offer scenery and tranquility, yet place drivers and occupants in vulnerable positions.  Car accidents, lost keys, and broken windshields, make riders take detours from otherwise happy and expected plans.

Road Trip Tips

Get to your destination free of worry.  Don’t forget the following road trip tips at home the next time you rev your engine for a long distance tour.

 

Mechanic Check-Up

 

Take your vehicle to a mechanic or auto garage before the trip.  Let professionals check the car’s battery, tyres, and fluids.  Change the oil, inflate and rotate tyres, and tell the service professionals about the mileage of your trip.

 

Additionally, cables (that operate the car’s clutch and throttle) weaken over time and cause breakdowns.  Older cars are especially prone to wearing and defective cables, so make sure the mechanic gives them a look over.

 

Key Alternative

 

Most have a back up set of keys for homes and cars but spares aren’t always brought on road trips.  Have a back-up option in case you lose your keys or lock them in your vehicle.  Roadside-assistance services help stranded drivers gain access into vehicles.  Using an array of tools and methods, third-party assistance is a quick way for stranded drivers to get out of a jam.

 

Lost car keys are no problem if you have a spare set or contact information of available assistance.  Some have roadside membership cards, yet grow weary and worried when providers don’t get there for long periods.  Top services get to awaiting customers in less than 40 minutes a majority of the time.

 

Roadside Kit

 

Consumer Reports suggests investing in a roadside emergency kit.  It helps get drivers back on the road quicker and eases the minds of those taking longer journeys.  Basic kits feature fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, tyre gauges, jack and lug wrenches, flashlights, and other useful tools that come in handy during emergencies.

 

If you’re driving especially long distances,GPS devices (or smart phone applications) and coolant hose repair kits keep vehicles going the right way and automobile running without failure.

 

Weather Driving

 

Drive appropriately, minding weather conditions.  Icy, wet, and slick roads pose threat to drivers who are unfamiliar with surroundings or driving at night.  Newer cars (with anti-lock brakes) lock-up on roads, causing cars to slide along regardless of applied brake pressure.  In sliding and uncontrolled situations, ‘steer with your eyes’ and direct the car where you want it to go.

 

Additionally, helping others is a grand sentiment, but it’s best (and safest) to stay inside your vehicle, opting to call roadside or emergency assistance for those in need.

 

Packed Lunch

 

While drivers and car attendants pass plenty of fast-food restaurants along the way, it’s economical to pack a lunch or store food from home in a cooler rather than spend travel funds on low-quality food and snacks.

 

Choose snacks that are filling.  Watermelon, nuts, grains, and green smoothies keep stomachs filled while wheels turn on the road.  Stay away from unhealthy and expensive fast-food, eateries.  ‘Super-sizing’ your way through hunger will put a huge dent in your wallet and travel budget.

 

Passed Strangers

 

Long stretches of road host drifters and those seeking alternative methods of travel.  While some stand at roadsides, others ‘hitch’ rides via social media sites.  It’s tempting to consider accepting money and company in exchange for helping others, it’s safest to pass by ‘hikers’ and any online ads.

 

Those looking to take advantage of others sometimes pose as stranded drivers or drifters in need of help, quickly preying on those who are kind enough to offer a ride or face-to-face interaction.

 

Sam Matthews lives on the road. With years of experience dealing with a myriad of road trip situations, he often blogs about the ins and outs of making life on the road as successful as possible.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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