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Planning Your Road Trip

Every day, many drivers hit the road on journeys to destinations near and far. Whether taking a day trip or heading across country, proper planning is required to make the adventure safe and efficient. To experience the joy of the open road without the worry of theft, hunger, or being stranded roadside, follow these tips before departing on your next road trip.

Pack wisely so all luggage fits into the car without overloading or presenting a stackable safety hazard. Put all luggage, valuables, and gifts into the trunk where it will be out of sight and keep this area locked throughout the trip. Trunk covers are available for vehicles with visible trunks and are worth the investment.

Study the traffic laws that apply to routes on the trip. Laws vary by state and pertain to situations such as yielding to pedestrians and turning right at red lights. If heading across a national border, review the laws for the destination country as well as its local areas. A ticket is the last thing any driver wants to receive on a road trip.

Before leaving home, top off all fluids in the vehicle, ensure that tires are adequately inflated, and fill up the gas tank. If the trip will be a long one, have a mechanic perform an inspection and tune up. Consider enrolling in roadside assistance offered by the auto insurance company or joining an automobile club such as AAA. Once you hit the road, conserve gas by driving the speed limit and minimizing sudden stopping and starting. Fill up the gas tank once the gauge reads one-quarter remaining because gas stations may be sparse.

If the journey will be a long one, visit the grocery store ahead of time to stock up on beverages and snacks. The prices and selection are better than what you will find at convenience stores and gas stations along the road. Fill a cooler with drinks and take plates, cups, napkins, and utensils. When children will be along for the ride, make frequent stops for bathroom breaks, snack time, and some exercise.

Add a flashlight, first aid kit, jumper cables, and extra vehicle fluids to the packing list and ensure that the spare tire is fully inflated. Pack books, toys, music, and a portable DVD player and DVDs so kids stay entertained throughout the trip. Each passenger should take a blanket and pillow for resting on the journey. Put some spare change in the compartment for toll money, make sure everyone buckles up, and you are ready to go!

Photo Courtesy of Stig Nygaard via Creative Commons License