Road trip 101

Road trip 101

BY PENDA HONEYGHAN

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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WHETHER you are going on a road trip with your family or you are travelling for work purposes, driving for long distances can be fun and rewarding if you plan adequately for the journey. These trips lend themselves to mindful relaxation, sightseeing, and quality bonding time. To ensure that you get to your location and back home safely and comfortably, we have asked auto mechanic and car enthusiast Roshane Holness to share some useful tips.

Make sure that your car is in tip-top shape

The condition of your vehicle is one of the most important things to consider when going on a long distance trip. Before you set out, you want to make sure that all facets of your vehicle are in tip-top condition. So, for example, you want to make sure that your tyres are properly inflated, that you have a full tank of gas, that all other fluids in your vehicle are at the optimal level, and also make sure that your spare is in good condition. To be sure all is well, you may want to consult with your mechanic for the go-ahead.

If the car is not yours, you should make sure that similar assessments are done, but outside of this you should also familiarise yourself with the features of the vehicle such as the horn, brakes and hazard lights.

Sleep the night before the trip

Before you start your trip you want to make sure that you are well-rested for the ride. So sleep the night before your trip so that you are not tired even before you set out on the journey.

Take breaks at intervals

Stop and take a break every two hours or so. Use this time to get some fresh air, stretch, relieve yourself and refuel your body for the journey. Otherwise you run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Make sure that if you have to pull over you choose some place safe. Lonely roads are not ideal. Also, when you stop, make sure that you pull your car off the road altogether as you don't want to cause an accident.

Choose entertainment wisely

Choose entertainment that is not too distracting, for example music, audiobooks and conversations on topics that are not potentially explosive.

Keep cash on hand

Using your debit and credit card may be the safest option, but if you are going on trips, especially in rural areas, you may want to take cash just in case some businesses don't take cards. Also, technology can be unreliable sometimes, so just in case the Internet is down you want to be able to buy things that you need — gas, for example.

Make sure car essentials are in your car

Just in case the unfortunate happens and you break down even after having checked your car, it is important that you have supplies that can assist you with making repairs to your vehicle. So make sure that you have supplies such as a jumper cable, bulbs, portable tyre pump, vehicle fluids, a flashlight, a first aid kit and water.

Take turns driving

It would be good if all the other passengers are not non-drivers. If you can take turns driving then you will be able to rest and vice versa. This way you will be less tired and it won't feel like such as chore.

Refuel your vehicle as needed

Make sure not to wait until your vehicle is on E to refuel it. By the time your vehicle is at a quarter tank, especially if the trip is taking you through several country roads where gas stations are less likely to be, you should have topped up. It is not recommended that you travel with gas in your car because of its potential to be a fire hazard, so you do not want to run out of fuel.

Obey signs and other road rules

Chances are you don't know the roads you are driving on well, so the road signs are there to protect you and so it is important that you obey them. Make sure that you drive within the speed limit, that you do not talk or text on the phone, use your seatbelt, and do not engage in any other form of careless driving. This way you keep yourself, passengers and other road users safe.


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