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8 ways to avoid potential road trip disasters

James Raia

U.S. roads crumbling again after years of improvement.

If you’re searching for some ideas about how to travel and where to go on your next adventure, look no further than a road trip.

The beautiful thing about a road trip is that you can do it anywhere. All you need is a set of wheels and a taste for the liberation that soaring down the open road brings.

The 2022 Mazda MX-5 has an optional retractable hardtop.
The 2022 Mazda MX-5 has an optional retractable hardtop and it’s ideal for a road trip.

If you’re tired of waiting around in airports or having your trip dictated by bus schedules, a road trip is the perfect solution.

But just because you have more freedom doesn’t mean things will always go off without a hitch. As with any journey, there is the potential for disaster and disappointment, but not if you consider these eight ways to overcome them (or even avoid them entirely).

Plan Every Step

The idea of a spontaneous road trip is exciting. But it can also put you and your passengers in danger. You don’t want to take a wrong turn or end up miles from where you thought you were going, so reading these smart steps to plan your road trip will help you work out where you’re going and how long it will take to get there, as well as highlighting anything cool you might want to check out along the way.

Open road travel is lots of fun, particularly if it's safe.
California has the worst highways in the country and that’s often problematic for travel on the open road.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to plan everything meticulously, but having an outline of your route will make it easier to keep heading in the right direction and will make everything easier.

Have Options

Despite this, you also need to consider alternative options. While you may not need to use these alternative options, keeping them in mind will make you feel more confident and help you change course more easily.

You may discover that the hotel you booked isn’t where you thought it was or doesn’t have any record of your booking. Rather than sleep in your car or drive around aimlessly, alternative options mean you won’t feel like you’ve wasted a day (or petrol) and you can reach your next destination even sooner to keep spirits high and even help you discover something you never knew about before you set off.

Collect A List Of Service Details

No matter where you go, put together a list of services you may need along the way. This can include emergency services like the police or ambulance, but also Fast Sydney Towing services, for example, in case your vehicle breaks down.

Considering you may end up in the middle of nowhere without reliable data or phone service, these details will be vital for helping you get out of tricky situations easily, even if it takes a little longer than you wanted. While you wait, you can plot your next move or reevaluate the trip to accommodate the disruption and arrive at your destination on time.

Learn Some Basic Car Maintenance

Sometimes, you don’t need to call the professionals to get you out of a jam. You and the rest of your road trip crew should learn basic car maintenance before you get behind the wheel. Things like replacing a flat tire or changing the oil are easy enough to do by yourself and they can save you lots of time and money during your trip.

Hopefully, you never need to deal with any of this, but it’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared, and even if you do encounter a disaster, you can get excited about showing off your new skill.

Don’t Underestimate the Journey Length

Road trips are awesome; it’s why so many people have hit the open road and taken the adventure of a lifetime. However, many people often underestimate the length of the journey, as well as how exhausting it can be to focus on nothing but an endless road for six hours a day.

Underestimating the length of the journey can be dangerous, especially as you increase the risk of falling asleep at the wheel if you don’t fuel properly. This is an issue when driving across the Nullabor, which is one of the most remote parts of Australia, but it can also happen on any highway across the world. There will be long stretches where you don’t see anyone, or indeed anything, so make sure you have something to keep you alert.

Bring Enough Emergency Supplies

In a similar vein, drivers should also bring enough emergency supplies in case they get stranded in the middle of nowhere. These supplies include maps or GPS, spare phones, blankets, and water and could be the difference between life and death in some situations. As mentioned above, you can never be too prepared when taking a road trip, so fill your vehicle with everything you think you’ll need and more to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Get Travel Insurance

While travel insurance can’t prevent accidents or injuries, it can make the cost of repairs or treatment easier to manage. You should get insurance no matter where you go, whether you’re taking a road trip somewhere else or exploring the backcountry of the country where you were born.

Everyone should have travel insurance, too, even those who aren’t doing any of the driving. This ensures everyone is protected if they get hurt, but that doesn’t mean you should drive and explore with reckless abandon. As with any trip, be sensible and do everything you can to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Share Driving Responsibilities

No one wants to be the only person responsible for driving the entire trip. Everyone wants to have fun, take a break, and enjoy the scenery by the side of the road instead of staring straight ahead. Furthermore, having only one driver can be dangerous as they will get fatigued and more prone to making errors, especially if you are rushing to your next destination. Every successful road trip has seen participants share the wheel, so you and your team should agree on who is driving and when they are taking over during your adventure.

The Open Road

With so many options for your open-road adventure, you can take whatever route you like. As long as you remember these crucial tips, you can take to the open road confidently. You might even stumble across something secret you’d never have found had you taken a plane or bus, which makes road trips so special.

Content provided by The Weekly Driver News Service and other content sources.

Article Last Updated: July 4, 2023.

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