You’re on the road, ready for the adventure ahead, and having lots of laughs along the way, the summer of 2016 road trip is sure to be a blast! But nothing brings a fun road trip to a screeching halt like car troubles or a cranky driver. It’s important to keep safety number one, and for the driver to stay sane and focused. Whether you’re headed out to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Route 66 (see our bonus tip at the end for an event you can hit along the way!), or your own summer destination, Part Four of our series gives tips for how to keep it safe.
Part 4: Tips 41–53
41. Trade Off Driving
Don’t be a hero. Even if you feel like you can keep driving, it’s uncomfortable for everyone if they’re nervous the driver is going to nod off or is getting irritable. The minute the driver feels groggy or is starting to get agitated, pull over and either switch drivers or take a break. Changing drivers every few hours is best; don’t drive for more than 10.
42. Do Your Own Thing
Instead of getting frustrated or giving your travel buddies the silent treatment, agree ahead of time that it’s OK for everyone to do their own thing. The driver can listen to the radio while passengers put on noise-canceling headphones; the backseat passengers can play a game while the front-seaters sit quietly—don’t put pressure on yourselves to interact for the entire trip.
43. Take Care of Your Bodies
Don’t underestimate rest, getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and having a routine. You need to be fully nourished, rested and focused to be able to drive long trips (whether alone or in a group).
While you don’t have to interact the whole time, a long road trip is a great chance to deepen relationships. Put some instrumental music on in the back so that you can focus. Try something acoustic or trance house music to set the mood.
45. Do Two-Minute Workouts
Squeeze in some exercise when you stop. You can stretch, run in place, do pushups or jumping jacks. Or, if you’re feeling extra ambitious, check out these car yoga positions. Garmin wearables have a “move bar” feature that vibrates every time you have been inactive. After one hour of inactivity, the device vibrates, MOVE! appears, and your watch will remind you every 15 minutes to move until the bar is cleared. You can reset the move bar by walking a short distance. The activity/step goal on Garmin devices will drop or go up depending on your activity. So if you are driving for four days straight, your goal will go down the next day. Make sure you take frequent breaks from the car to stretch your legs and get some activity in!
46. Make Sure Your Car Is in Tip-Top Shape
Service your car a week before the trip, and get an oil change, refill fluids, check tire pressure (is it time to rotate and calibrate?), check all exterior lights, the heat and air conditioner, and the spare tire.
47. Keep It Hands-Free
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t text and drive. But when you’re the captain of a road trip, it can be tempting to fiddle with your phone for travel apps, directions and music selections, which can be equally as dangerous. Make sure to follow the safe rules of the road: Have your navigator handle your phone as much as possible, and use your Bluetooth connection to work your phone through the car’s controls. Click here to view the navigation devices from Garmin which include Bluetooth features like hands-free calling, voice-activated navigation and smartphone notifications.
48. Don’t Ignore Drowsiness
Garmin’s DriveLuxe LMTHD includes a fatigue warning feature which suggests break times and potential rest areas after hours of driving.
If you feel even the slightest bit tired or sense yourself nodding off, don’t try to push through. Getting there late is better than not getting there at all. Take a nap break, switch drivers or call it a day.
49. Make Sure You Have Help When You Need It
Do you have a roadside assistance program? Before you leave for your trip, you should make sure you have your roadside assistance account up to date and the paperwork handy. Know what your policy covers so you’re prepared in case the unexpected happens.
50. Take Time for Your Car Every Day
Check the oil and cleaner fluids periodically throughout your trip, pay attention to the warning lights on your car, and don’t put off getting something checked out if there’s an issue. Also, at the end of each day, clear out the trash from the car and tidy up anything that’s come unpacked. It will make for a better start the next day.
51. Pack an Emergency Kit
Make sure to include flashlights with batteries, a simple tire pressure gauge, hazard triangle, jumper cables and an empty gas can.
52. Prepare for People Emergencies
Your passengers need a safety kit, too. Got all your prescription meds? Pack a first aid kit, and include additional items such as bug spray, sunscreen, disinfectant and bandages.
53. Bonus Tip: Where to Go? Cruise Over to the Cruisin’ Reunion
September 16–18: Hit the Cruisin’ Reunion in Ontario, California, and see all the classics that traveled Route 66 during yesteryear. The celebration is three days of food, music, entertainment, and of course, cars.