January 5, 2019

If you’re someone that loves to drive, you’ve probably taken the highway over the airport for a vacation at some point. There’s nothing like the feeling of being free on the open road, cruising to your destination. But if your trip leaves takes you hours beyond your usual home base, there are steps you should take to before you leave on your road trip.

1. Check your fluids.

Under the hood, your fluids keep your vehicle alive. The engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and coolant are all vital to ensuring you get to your destination. Check each fluid to make sure its condition is clean and full. Top up fluids that are low, and have your vehicle serviced if any fluids are dirty. You don’t want a mechanical breakdown ever, although especially not when you’re far from home.

2. Check your tires.

Inspect your tires for a safe amount of tire tread using the penny test. Insert a penny between the tread blocks with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If the top of Lincoln’s head is exposed, your tires are worn out and need to be replaced. If the crown of his head is covered, you’re good to go. Check the tire pressure too, and inspect the tread for signs of unusual wear. It can indicate suspension or steering problems, and should be looked after before you leave home.

3. Plot your route.

You have a final destination in mind, so take a bit of time to plot your route to get there. It doesn’t mean it won’t vary along the way, but it can help you plan your trip. Break up your road trip into manageable blocks of driving – three to four hours at most – so you can stop for food, fuel, and bathroom breaks along the way. If your road trip crosses several state lines and requires an overnighter, you can choose your rest stop as well. You may want to book your hotel in advance too.

4. Bring safety supplies.

Be prepared for the worst but hope for the best. Bring an emergency kit along in the event things don’t go quite like you planned. Your safety supplies should include a first aid kit, a change of clothes, a blanket, a bit of food and water, a heat source like matches, and some basic tools. You’re not planning to go all Bear Grylls or anything, just safely get through a short time until help arrives.

5. Hit the grocery store.

Nothing says road trip like some packable food. Grab a chocolate bar, a bag of your favorite potato chips, a few energy drinks, and whatever other snacks you need to occupy your time behind the wheel.

Lastly (this one’s a bonus), don’t forget to load up your phone or iPod with your favourite tunes! Most songs are about 3 minutes long, so you need 20 per hour that you’re on the road. Happy driving!