The end of summer is the perfect time for a road trip – one last hurrah before the colder weather. Piling a few friends or the kids in the car and heading off on a grand adventure can seem like a great idea, but it’s important to keep your grand adventure a safe adventure.
Preparing Your Car
No matter how new or old your car is, you should always have a mechanic check it out before driving long distances. If you have a problem with your car, you don’t want to find out about it mid-trip because, inevitably, it will happen at the worst possible time and you could end up stranded.
Always have your oil and filter changed before you go on a road trip. You should change your oil every 5,000 miles anyways, and if you’re driving a long distance, you may hit that number midway through your trip. It’s best to get your oil changed before that becomes a possibility, so that you don’t have to search for a place to have it done when you’re in an unfamiliar area.
Make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need in case something goes wrong. Even if a mechanic does look at your car before you go, there’s always the possibility of a flat tire or some other minor mishap. So before you set off on your adventure, make sure you have a tire iron, a jack, a spare tire, and a set of jumper cables. In addition to supplies to fix your car, you’ll want to have supplies in case you get stranded somewhere. Always keep a sleeping bag in your car, as well as a few bottles of water, a first-aid kit, and some food. Keep a small bag of things like energy bars, peanut butter, and other non-perishable items in your car.
You might be worried about getting into an accident outside of the state. Relax – the steps to follow aren’t that different from the ones you’d follow if you got in an accident in Ohio. Before you leave, make sure you have your drivers’ license, proof of insurance, and a copy of your registration with you. If you’re involved in an accident, the first thing you need to do is seek medical help if necessary. You also need to call the police and file a report. Be sure to take pictures of any damage or injuries, and contact your insurance company to report the damages.
Maximize Your Mileage
Packing light for your trip could help your fuel economy. If your car doesn’t have to haul extra weight, that’ll increase your gas mileage a little bit. Drive a little bit slower as well – just a ten-mile-per-hour decrease can improve your gas mileage drastically. You should also make sure your tires are properly inflated before you leave. Driving on under-inflated tires can negatively affect your fuel economy as well.
Safety on Road Trips
These days, with the advent of GPS technology on our phones, it’s easier than ever to figure out where you’re going. However, you will most likely go through dead spots, and it’s a good idea to have a paper map with you, just in case. Outline your route in marker or highlighter before you leave so that you’re not sitting there trying to figure out where you are, which can also lead to distracted driving.
Always stick to main roads when you can. If you have the option of taking the turnpike and paying a toll or taking the back roads for free, take the turnpike and pay the toll if you can afford to do so. Stick to well-lit roads, and if you have to pull off the road at any point, stay in your car. Do not try to wander off and find businesses – you may get lost, plus there’s a chance of being hit if you leave your car.
Lastly, be mindful of where and when you stop. If you can, stop at businesses (fast food restaurants, grocery stores, etc.) rather than rest stops. Carry pepper spray or some other method of self-defense.
Follow these steps to keep yourself safe on a road trip, and your adventure will be one to remember! If you’re involved in an accident on your trip, contact the personal injury attorneys at Steuer, Escovar & Coleman Co. LPA in the Lakewood and Northeast Ohio area at (216)-666-5427. We’re always here to help.