“It is better to travel well than to arrive,” according to Buddha, and his observation is as true today as it was over two thousand years ago. Back then, road trips simply involved riding a horse, camel or donkey through rough terrain. In our age of GPS and smartphones, there are ways for motorists to better prepare themselves for a long drive despite all the conveniences of modernity.
Eight percent of American commuters drive over 35 miles each day and about three-fourths of motorists drive alone, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Motorists who go on long road trips face more challenges such as getting enough rest, keeping alert, staying on budget and preparing for emergencies.
Here are a few tips for a better and safer road trip.
More than half of Americans do not get enough sleep, according to The Better Sleep Council, so get plenty of rest before you embark on your road trip. There are over 100,000 car crashes annually that result from fatigue. Never fall asleep on the wheel — if you’re feeling tired, it’s important to find a rest area and catch up on your sleep.
Also, it’s important to stay aware of road conditions. Your eyes should always be scanning for threats such as a motorcycle going over the speed limit or deer that may be crossing the highway. Motorists who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get into a vehicular accident.
Stay on budget
Create a reasonable budget for your road trip and stick to it. Also, bring emergency cash in case you get stuck in the middle of nowhere. If you plan on using a credit card, considering charging some of your expenses, like gas, on a rewards credit card with earnings that don’t expire. For example, the BuyPower Card from Capital One provides a great way to save toward a new GM vehicle. Cardholders receive 5% Earnings on their first $5,000 in purchases each year, then 2% unlimited Earnings on purchases after that.
Prepare enough snacks
Bring plenty of water because you’re likely to go on long stretches before you arrive at the next town. And consider bringing healthy treats, such as fruit, to help you stay alert while driving. You may also want to pack a few sandwiches so you won’t have to spend additional money.
Bring useful items
Before you leave, download the necessary apps on your smartphone that will help you find your destination. (And don’t forget your phone charger!) Ensure that you have new batteries on your GPS and that you have enough coolant to prevent an engine breakdown. Other key items include pillows and blankets, toiletries, spare keys and a first aid kit.
Article by Marvin Dumont