Life Saving Road Trip Tips
These are some of my life saving road trip tips that I hope you will find helpful. As the “Most road tripped man in the world,” I have a few miles under my belt and have had my fair share of close-calls. I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of road trip tips than could possibly save your life the next time you venture off down the road.
Don’t pass or drive on the right side of a semi truck
When trucking down the highway, it’s very possible that you will encounter a semi truck in one of the left lanes. Whatever you do, don’t try and pass (or even drive on the right side) on the right because they have a major blind spot. I personally had a very close call once, where I was not passing per se, but just driving in the right lane next to a semi to my left. I was just minding my own business, when all of a sudden, the trucker started coming into my lane. I was honking and sped up as fast as I could, but the driver did not hear or see me. I was forced off the road, until finally I made my way in front of the big rig. It was a very close call. Needless to say, be very careful driving on the right side of a semi truck.
Never drive with your cruise control on when the temperature is below 30 degrees
When the temperature dips below freezing, black ice can form on the roads. If you use your cruise control, and lets say you begin going up a hill, the overdrive of your vehicle can kick on and spin you out of control. I learned this first hand while driving on a beautiful stretch of highway in Montana on a sunny day. The temperature was around 7 degrees and the road looked clear. There was not much traffic either (thankfully). As my passenger and I started to go up a hill, the overdrive kicked on and sent us spinning down (up) the highway. Just before we were to smash into the concrete barrier head on, the vehicle straitened out. The impact was just to the side of my truck. Surprisingly, the damage was limited to the wheels and we were not injured.
Do a safety check of the vehicle before departure
We are all usually in a hurry and/or excited to hit the road, but it is very important to do a basic safety check of the vehicle before you depart. Here is a list of things to check.
- Tire air pressure.
- All fluids (Radiator, windshield fluid, brake, oil and transmission).
- Make sure you have a car jack.
- Check your spare tire, make sure it is in good condition and properly inflated.
- Make sure the battery posts and cables are free from corrosion.
- Squeeze all of the hoses to make sure they are in good condition and not cracked.
- Check your belt(s) to make sure they do not have cracks in them.
- Inspect the tire tread and overall health of the tires.
Create an emergency kit
It’s really important to have a small emergency kit with you before you venture out on the road. Consider the following:
- Fix-a-flat (sometimes having a spare tire is not enough).
- Adjustable wrench and some basic tools, such as screwdrivers and a knife.
- Duck tap (so helpful with many applications).
- Backup battery for your phone.
- Jumper cables.
- Lighter and/or matches.
- First-aid kit.
- Solar charger.
- Bug repellent.
Winter windshield wiper fluid
You may not realize it, but not all windshield wiper fluid is created equal. General purpose wiper fluid is mainly water, and water freezes. So, if you are planning to hit the road in the winter, here is an invaluable road trip tip…buy winter grade wiper fluid that will not freeze. I can’t tell you how often you will need wiper fluid in the winter as your windshield can get coated in dirty snow, making it very difficult to see.
Don’t test your fuel limits
Smartphones are so helpful in knowing how far the next fuel station is, however sometimes there may not be service. I recommend not letting your fuel get below 1/3 of a tank, especially in areas you are unfamiliar with. I was in a remote part of Northern Germany once and nearly ran out of fuel. I actually did run out of fuel, but it was on the off-ramp to a fuel station. Click here to read about my experience, which has lead to one of these life saving road trip tips.
Always have water with you
Water is essential for life! Not only do you need it personally, but you may need some for your car in case your radiator springs a leak. Bring much more than just a bottle!
Don’t drive distracted!
We all do it…we can’t help but look at our phones, either to see the latest notifications or to look at our map. It is simply not safe to be driving distracted. If you’re on a true road trip, you should not be in a hurry to get from point A to point B, so just look at your phone on one of the scenic stops.
The last of the life saving Road Trip Tips…protect yourself with travel insurance
Lastly, you may want to protect yourself with travel insurance, this is particularly helpful when traveling abroad. Travel insurance comes in handy for lost luggage, missed or canceled flights, trip interruptions and most importantly, medical emergencies. Each plan is different, so check with your provider. I have an annual policy because I travel so much. I am also a travel ambassador for Allianz Travel, whom I would highly recommend, although, thankfully I’ve never had to use my policy.
Those are some of my life saving road trip tips, I hope you have found them helpful. If you have any additional road trip tips you can think of, please leave a comment below.