2020 has been a difficult year, to say the least. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the world with challenges we could never have imagined. In March this year, governments the world over enforced lockdowns to prevent the spread of coronavirus, forcing all but essential industries to cease operations, essentially bringing national economies to a standstill. International travel was also severely halted as governments implemented travel restrictions.
Although borders are slowly opening and restrictions are gradually easing, things are still incredibly uncertain when it comes to international travel. People remain reluctant to travel abroad, but of course, we all want a vacation, and as a result of the changing circumstances, many countries have seen a surge in domestic travel as more and more folks see value in exploring attractions that are on their doorstep.
A really fun way of discovering the wider USA is to take a road trip with your buddies. After all, this country was made for driving with its great road infrastructure, fantastic cities and beautiful national parks. That said, driving, especially long distances and for long periods of time, does come with its own risks. So, we’ve come up with a few tips for staying safe and enjoying your next big road trip.
1) Planning is the key to staying safe and having fun
Thorough preparation is key to the success of your forthcoming trip. With so many factors to consider, it is easy to let the ball drop and forget something, so start by making a list. Plan your itinerary clearly, familiarize yourself with the route, and research any local driving regulations. Check the weather and make sure you pack the roadside essentials in case of a breakdown.
2) Make sure your car is well maintained (or hire a vehicle instead)
If you’re driving long distances, it is important that your car is fully roadworthy and capable of completing your trip. Make sure your tires are pumped up, and the spare is fully functional. If possible, have a mechanic do some basic checks on the engine oil, filters, lights, signals, car batteries, brakes, and tire pressure. If, however, your car isn’t up to the job or your plan on going off-road needs a better vehicle, why not consider renting a four-wheel drive instead?
3) Keep an eye on your fuel tank
If you plan on taking some rural routes and getting slightly off the beaten track, bear in mind that there will be times when you are quite a distance away from civilization. There is nothing worse than running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere! Of course, knowing the location of the nearest gas station isn’t all that easy so it’s important to make sure your gas tank is at least one-third full at all times.
4) Take regular breaks while driving
Driving for long periods of time, especially on straight roads, can take its toll on even the most experienced drivers. Ideally, you should take a fifteen-minute break every few hours, just to stretch those legs or grab a coffee. Another good alternative is to share the driving with a friend. Driving while drowsy and running the risk of falling asleep can prove really dangerous so be mindful of this and be realistic about the distances you can cover.
5) Hope for the best but prepare for the worst
No matter how well you plan your road trip or whether you’ve taken all the necessary precautions, the fact is that driving a car is actually far more dangerous than taking a flight. Accidents do happen and they might not even be your fault. If you do find yourself caught up in an accident while on the road, and especially if you are injured as a result, it’ll be important to seek legal support from a specialist who has experience with injury claims but is also familiar with local laws like Olympia injury lawyers. Having legal help at hand, especially if you are in another state can be exceptionally helpful.
Remember that you can’t predict what’ll happen on the road and that’s all part of the adventure. That said, taking a few simple steps can improve safety for you and your friends and in turn, ensure you have the best of times. Fingers crossed, your road trip will go without a hitch and you’ll return home with nothing but beautiful memories that last a lifetime. Enjoy your vacation and stay safe!