Giving Peace of Mind While on the Road
Who doesn’t love a road trip? Any excuse to get out of the house and explore new areas, new sights, new sounds. But what if fear is holding you back? Many times, people have told me their top concerns about traveling are money and safety.
However, I’ve found that a little bit of preparation goes a long way in the fear department. Knowing you have a plan is the best way to set your mind at ease and get you out on the open road. Here are some great road trip safety tips for your best peace of mind!
What to Pack
The first thing in road trip safety preparation is packing for the ‘what ifs.’ My grandfather used to always carry a safety bag in his trunk wherever he went. In fact, when he passed many years ago and I inherited his old Sonata that emergency pack was still in the trunk.
Nowadays there are several great road trip safety kits available. In fact, here is a great Roadside Emergency Kit to keep on all your road trips. It comes in a great carry all bag and includes everything you need in any type of road side emergency. The only thing I would add is extra antiseptic wipes to the first aid kit. In the current days of traveling during COVID, the more disinfecting wipes the better.
Bonus Tip: If you do a lot of road trips, I highly suggest joining a car club. We have been members of AAA for at least 20 years and every year it has paid for itself. Everything from needing a replacement truck battery in the middle of the night to needing an emergency tow while broken down in the middle of a busy highway.
Before you Hit the Road
The second thing on my road trip safety checklist is getting the car serviced. Before a big trip I always take my car in to get an oil change. I also make sure to let my mechanic know that I’m heading out for a road trip. That way he’ll give the vehicle an extra ‘once over’. You want them to check the basics:
- Tire pressure
- All fluid levels
- Air filter
- All lights and blinkers
- Car Battery
On the Road
Once your road trip safety pack is in the trunk and the all clear is given on your vehicle, it’s time to hit the road! A few things to keep in mind as you travel.
1) Never run out of fuel.
I like to start looking for a gas station just before my car reaches 1/4 tank. The last thing you want is to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere.
2) When you stop in to check out that cute new quilt shop or pull in for a museum stop, make sure to keep your doors locked and your valuables out of sight.
Once my friend and I ran into a fast food place to grab a quick order to go. We took our wallets but left our purses in the car. Even though we were gone less than 10 minutes, it was enough time for someone to break the window and rummage through our purses. From then on, I now always hide my purse or anything that might look valuable in the trunk before heading indoors.
3) Always be aware of your surroundings.
This one is especially true at gas pumps. When you fuel up, do you grab your charge card and leave your purse and wallet in the passenger seat? Do you lock that door? Most people don’t. Therefore, thieves have been known to pull into the next pump over and secretly open the car’s passenger doors, take the purse/wallet and leave. Therefore, I always make a point to lock all car doors except the driver door when stepping out to fuel up.
Just in Case
Even though the vast majority of the time nothing will go wrong, there are always those few instances that can’t be avoided. So, just in case something does, keep these road trip safety tips in mind:
1) Always keep your phone charged.
I make sure to check my phone’s battery quite often and try to never let it dip below 40%. That way, in case anything does happen I’m able to call for a tow truck or police and I can turn on my GPS if I don’t know exactly where I’m at.
2) In case of a break down – stay calm. Take a deep breath and stay put.
As long as it is safe to do so, always remain in your vehicle until the police or the tow truck arrives. If someone does walk up to you to offer assistance, DO NOT OPEN YOUR DOOR. Instead, roll down the window just enough to talk to individual but not enough that they can reach a hand inside. Even though it’s very likely they are an honest person just trying to help, it’s better to err on the side of caution, especially if you’re traveling alone.
3) Remember there’s safety in numbers
If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe, head inside the nearest restaurant or crowded bar. Talk to the employees so someone knows you’re there. If I’m ever traveling at night and have to stop, I like to find full size truck stops because there are always plenty of lights, cameras all around the place and there’s always someone working inside. Plus, they usually don’t mind if you hang out and chat for a bit until you’re comfortable enough to get back on the road.
All in all, the best way to stay safe out on the road is to prepare, trust your gut, and stay vigilant but not let the fear ruin your trip. Never forget that the reason you’re out there is to enjoy the scenery, find inspiration and search for the next best quilt shop!
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