Essential Vehicle Prep Tips for Your Next Cross Country Road Trip

Vehicle Prep Tips

Planning a road trip might seem like a fairly straightforward process for some, but the truth is, the best and most enjoyable road trips are meticulously planned. And these trips are also often planned well in advance. 

When you’re out on the open road, you’re facilitating an intrepid experience where you have to rely on yourself when something goes wrong. For instance, if something happens to your car along the way, you’re going to need to figure out how to get back home.

Though nobody wants to think about what can go wrong while out on a road trip, you always have to remember that Murphy’s Law is in effect no matter where you are. And even though old man Murphy might not have visited you before, you’ll want to be prepared when he does. 

If you’re about to embark on a lengthy road trip, there are a few details pertaining to your vehicle that you’ll want to address. And the following article will explore a few of these essential vehicle prep tips.


Vehicle Prep Tips

Most motorists are aware that just about every state in the United States requires automobile insurance of some type. But what many people tend to overlook is the fine print associated with many auto policies.

As such, you may have auto insurance. But do you have roadside assistance or a towing allowance if you get stranded or if you’re caught in a car crash? On a side note, if you get caught in a car crash, are you prepared to deal with it in a safe and efficient way, with an experienced collision lawyer’s number in your back pocket? You may want to have a solution prepared for if you get stuck in this unfavorable situation, as a good lawyer can help you recoup your damages.

The fact is, many of the large insurance corporations do offer roadside assistance of some kind. But you really need to check to see what your policy covers. 

For example, some basic policies only have towing coverage up to 5 miles. Then every mile after that is going to cost you out of pocket. And some policies don’t have a roadside assistance package at all unless you specify that you want this coverage upon signing up.

Before you head out on the road, review your auto policy and ensure that you’re adequately covered and that your policy has sufficient roadside protection added just to be on the safe side. 

In the Event of a Breakdown

The last thing that anyone wants to deal with is car trouble. And this is just as true when you’re close to home as it is when you’re traveling far away. 

But the best thing that you can do when traveling across the country is to have all of your bases covered, and keep a safety kit on hand in the event of a breakdown. 

For example, ensuring your tires are in good condition is perhaps the most important. In addition, the following checklist will come in handy if you find yourself needing help on the roadside.

  • Tool kit
  • Tire patch kit
  • Portable air compressor 
  • Extra water and food
  • Flashlight and batteries 
  • Road flares
  • Cell phone 
  • Extra oil
  • Extra transmission fluid
  • Coolant

Though the above list does cover most of the basics, be advised that not all breakdown situations are fixable on your own with basic tools. And if this is the case, you’ll need to locate assistance in the area that you’re traveling. 


Vehicle Prep Tips

If you’ve ever driven through an unfamiliar town, you probably understand how exciting this can be. In a new place, the people and the landscape are basically foreign to you, so getting lost might not be the ideal way to spend your vacation.

In order to avoid becoming lost in a strange place, ensure you have adequate navigation equipment on hand. 

Today, many vehicles are manufactured with an onboard GPS system. And if not, most motorists carry a smartphone with GPS capabilities. But in the event that you enter a dead zone or find yourself stranded, having map reading skills can literally save your life, and your sanity. 

A best practice when out on the open road is to keep an atlas handy, or a detailed map of the region you’re visiting. This way, if you find yourself unable to use your GPS, you’ll have a map as a backup that will detail your route and any alternate routes that you may need to take. 

Personal Safety 

Vehicle Prep Tips

When you’re traveling far from home, it’s always a good idea to bring along some means of self-defense or protection just in case you find yourself in a life-threatening situation. 

However, due to differing state laws and restrictions on traveling with weapons and self-defense items, you must ensure that you’re traveling within the means of the law in any region of the country that you find yourself in.

As such, if you prefer to bring a firearm along with you, be sure that you understand the laws where you’re traveling regarding the legality of transporting weapons in a personal vehicle. And the same holds true for taser guns, pepper spray, blades, or any other weapon that you might think of. 

Basically, know the law before you head out armed.

Taking a road trip is a great way to get away from daily life and see the landscape unfold. But if you want to enjoy yourself safely and comfortably, ensure that you plan your trip accordingly so that you’re not caught off-guard when unexpected situations arise.

Also Read:

The Best Way to Plan a Road Trip