Road trips are, simply put, one of the best ways to travel. They allow you to take in new sights, sounds, and people, all while you’re getting wherever you want to go. But from forgetting your pre-road trip maintenance to not planning out your routes, travelers make plenty of simple mistakes that can take their trips from great to terrible.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. To help ensure you don’t make any mistakes on your travels, we’ve compiled a brief-yet-comprehensive guide of the top 10 mistakes drivers make so that you know what not to do on the road. That way, you’re ready for the road and can focus on your journey and make your trip a great one. Of course, you could consider shipping your vehicle to your destination, but you’ll miss out on many sights if you do.
1. Not Getting Pre-Road-Trip Maintenance
One of the simpler yet crucial things that traveling drivers forget before setting out on the open road is to inspect their vehicles and take care of routine maintenance. While this may be fine before you head out to work for the day, you’ll want to get a comprehensive mechanical and safety inspection to ensure your vehicle is road-worthy before you embark.
2. Not Taking Care Of Your Home Before Leaving
Another simple yet nonetheless important thing that people often forget before heading out on the open road is ensuring their homes are in order first. Obviously, you’ve made important arraignments, like arranging pet lodging if you’re unable to bring them with you, but your work doesn’t stop there.
Make sure you have someone to take care of simpler tasks like ensuring your mail isn’t piling up and having someone to take care of your lawn and any plants you may have. Consider investing in a security system if you don’t have one already and will be away for longer than a day.
3. Not Planning Your Routes Ahead Of Time
Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Therefore, you will want to properly plan your route ahead of time to ensure you’re getting the most out of your trip. Failing to do so can result in you being stuck in storms, construction, and other otherwise unforeseen events that will have you left wasting time and not getting where you want to go.
By taking the time to plan out your route ahead of time, you can prevent any potential problems and ensure that your road trip is a smooth one.
4. Not Preparing Yourself For The Road
When setting out on a road trip, you want to ensure you have everything you need. On top of packing for your trip, you’ll want to make sure you pack for the journey, too. Have snacks on hand to help ease the hunger you may face on those long stretches of highway, and ensure you have some basic entertainment on hand to help keep everyone occupied.
5. Not Taking In Any Sights Along The Way
On the other hand, a big mistake a driver can make when traveling is planning their trip too tightly and not giving themselves any room or time to take any spontaneous stops or enjoy any of the sights they may see along the way.
While tightly planning isn’t always bad, you’re generally going to want to allow yourself a little breathing room for unexpected stops along the way.
6. Not Staying Organized During The Trip
This is an easy one to overlook, but it is nonetheless important. First, ensure you stay clean and organized throughout your trip, as things can quickly become chaotic if you don’t.
Furthermore, make sure you largely try to follow your plan save for the occasional spontaneous stop, and ensure you have a receptacle (it can be a simple bag) for any trash you accumulate along the way — you’d be surprised how fast it can add up if you don’t.
7. Not Having An Emergency Kit
Never set out on the road without having an emergency kit available to help you in the event of any problems.
Your road emergency kit should include essentials like a flashlight with batteries, a cell phone charger, jumper cables, a battery charger or jump back, spare water, non-perishable food, along with some first aid essentials. That way, you’re prepared for anything the open road throws.
8. Driving While Distracted
This one has to do with driving itself more so than planning ahead of time, but ensure your eyes and focus are solely on the road. Stop at a gas station or rest stop if you need to use your phone, and make sure you plan your breaks properly so that you’re well-rested on the road and not drowsy.
9. Speeding While Driving
This shouldn’t have to be said, but is still a common problem for many people traveling nonetheless. Do not speed while on a road trip under any circumstance. While it may be tempting to shave off a little time by speeding for a while along the way, you’re potentially putting the lives of other drivers at risk as well as your own.
Know the speed limits along the route you’re taking, and respect the posted speed limit wherever you are.
10. Poor Driving Etiquette
Driving etiquette is something that’s so important to society, but something that so many drivers and travelers forget on the road. Know the specific rules of the states, counties, and towns you drive through, and exhibit common courtesy to your fellow drivers.
Use your turn signals, don’t follow too closely, don’t speed, check your blind spots; the list goes on and on — but the point remains the same; be good to your fellow drivers on the road.