For those who want to get out on the highway and go looking for adventure, there are a few simple things that we suggest. Especially during this time of the year, there are more drivers than ever on the roads. Be careful and have a safe trip.
Before You Leave
Before heading out you’ll want to make sure your car is up for your trip. If you have a newer vehicle, simply checking under the hood and looking at your tire pressure might be enough. Older vehicles should be taken to a mechanic or at least a quick lube shop for a quick once over if you are not familiar with your car’s maintenance.
Ideally you should check the following:
Radiator Fluid and Your Radiator Fluid’s Reservoir Tank
Power Steering Fluid
Windshield Cleaner Fluid
All Hoses for any Leaks or Hardness
All Belts for any Slipping or Looseness
Spare Tire for Leaks or Flat
Appropriate Tire Pressure
Bring along a small tool kit, a jack and jack stand if your car is not equipped with one, and a gallon of water. Just in case.
Planning Your Rests
The best time for rest stops is not when you are gassing up or when you are trying to find somewhere to use the restroom. Stop and take breaks from the road with a real meal, not fast food. Yes, we realize that you need to get to where you’re going and you’ll often realize that you may have planned to drive too far on some days and not far enough on others.
Rest. A tired driver is a dangerous driver and even if you don’t feel tired, you need to take a break. We also recommend stopping for at least fifteen minutes every three hours to stretch, look at something other than the road and, if driving alone, call and talk to someone. Drivers can get tunnel vision from staring at pavement for too long. Talking to someone and moving around helps break up the monotony and “reset” the brain.
We’ve spoken about saving money on fuel before. In fact, we have an article about the various loyalty and credit cards that you can gather so you save at any fuel pump in the entire US! But there are things that change when you come to long distance driving.
Generally speaking, fueling stations in the middle of nowhere will be much higher than in towns and cities. Always try to keep at least ½ to ¼ of your tank full before you have to stop for fuel. This gives you more options and more time to find a better deal.
Everybody likes a snack but convenience stores are called that for a reason! These places can be super expensive for a few crackers. Grab a foam cooler, throw some ice in it and stop at a grocery store. You’ll have snacks on hand in case of a flat tire and more cash in your wallet. And what’s better than that?