Road trip prep

Published On: October 6, 2017 09:59 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

So many people fly everywhere these days that you might think the classic road trip is a thing of the past. However that is not actually the case. While it does seem that just getting in a car and going somewhere for the sake of a long drive is declining, there are many who actually prefer taking the road for vacations or family visits. The lure of the road is undeniable. There is something so rustic about traveling by road that isn’t there when you hop into a plane and hop out at your destination.

While it is exciting to hit the road with a group of friends but when there is the potential for an adventure, there is also a high chance that something could go wrong. While everyone knows that a good pair of jumper cables and a spare tire are absolutely essential while traveling by road, there are some basic things you must have and do before embarking on a long commute. The Week lists out some such important things to make your next road trip a hassle-free one. 

Schedule a checkup
Perform basic maintenance on your vehicle before you head out such as checking wipers and fluid levels. Also, schedule any necessary service such as oil changes or tune-ups. A vehicle in top shape will have a better chance of staying reliable and efficient. Also stay charged.

Check your battery to make sure it’s strong and has clean terminals. A little baking soda and water will do the job if it’s not because a road trip is no fun if your car won’t start. Make sure the tire pressures are set to the figures that are printed on the placard on the driver’s door jam, or what’s listed in your car’s owner’s manual. Also have your service station inspect your car’s brake pads to make sure they aren’t worn or need replacing. Having an overall thorough inspection of your car will ensure that you won’t have to deal with vehicular problems on the road. 

Go through your car owner’s manual
Have a look in your vehicle’s owner's manual and don’t forget to keep it in your glove box. The owner’s manual contains plenty of useful information from how to change a flat tire to where the jack is located. If you need to top up the engine oil or other fluids, your owner’s manual has the instructions for that too.

You can also find the information on how to jump-start the car if the battery dies, what to do if the engine overheats, or how to change a headlight bulb. If you don’t have an owner's manual, many car manufacturers offer to download an electronic copy of the owner’s manual. You can also order the printed version from your local dealer. Don’t rely on the internet to give you answers when you run into a problem. Have a guide at hand by keeping the owner’s manual with you. 

Be prepared
Bring supplies in the event of an accident or medical issue. Stock your car with an emergency kit—especially a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, and some basic tools. Also, bring water and extra snacks, just in case. Also, carry an extra car key too. You never know when you might accidently lock yourself out or lose your car keys.

If you are driving with kids, make sure you pack enough snacks, water, games, videos, and music to keep them comfortable and occupied during your journey. You will also want to make sure your phone is set to keep you entertained over the long hours of driving, whether you are tapping into your own collection of music, streaming tunes via Spotify or Pandora, or listening to your favorite podcasts. Carry other things like a board game, a pack of cards or even a set of badminton racquet if you have plans to stop at a few places along the way. 

Know your limits 
Some people can drive for up to 12 hours in a day. Other people have a limit of four or five hours. This can be due to physical problems from sitting for that long or from pure boredom. Figure out who will drive when and decide on it beforehand so that there is no confusion once you hit the road. You should also know your limits in terms of driving in the dark. Then decide on who does what during the trip.

Some people are good at navigating; others couldn’t read a map if they tried. Some people are good at planning meals, while others think a big bag of chips counts as a good dinner. Know who does what well, and what really matters to your traveling companions, and you will divvy up tasks in a way that gets things done efficiently and to the satisfaction of all.

And lastly, while on the road don’t pick up a hitchhiker
This is a 50/50. It is perhaps a quintessential part of any road trip to pick up the interesting looking character at the side of the road, hear their stories and take them to a new destination. But, in reality, you have to determine the potential dangers of letting a complete stranger into your vehicle.

It could turn out just fine, you will share some laughs, learn something new and have a good story to tell or your road-trip adventure will develop into the plot of a horror film. We will leave this one up to you to decide. Also, if you do pick up someone it’s a good idea to let someone at home know your route, and when you arrive at your destination.

Tips to reduce fuel cost

Try to purchase petrol at the coolest time of day. Gas is densest at these times.

Keep windows closed while traveling at high speeds. Having open windows can reduce your mileage up to 10%, which can be the same as air conditioning.

Avoid driving on rough roads, they can decrease mileage by 30%.

Cool down automatic transmissions by placing them in neutral at long traffic lights or traffic standstills.

Remove excess weight from your car – that can also reduce mileage.Make sure tires are pressurized to the maximum limit provided by the manufacturer.


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