Preparing Your Car For A Long Road Trip

While preparing my car for a long road trip a boyfriend once told me that my life was kind of like driving a car. Every once in a while I would go off the main road and onto an unfamiliar road which winds around, way off the beaten path. But, eventually I always found my way back to the main road. He was a Psychiatrist, so I don’t know if he was analyzing me or trying to tell me in a nice way that it just wasn’t going to work out between us. Dating a doctor was fun, but I wasn’t very nice to him. I used to send him flowers, knowing that they’d die and he couldn’t save them. I recently had another guy tell me that my driving is a “road trip.” What’s up with the criticism and driving analogies? They would both be shocked to know that I now teach defensive driving. Heck, even my own father laughed when I told him that. If you like to go off the beaten path in your life’s travels and your driving is a “road trip” maybe I can offer you a few tips for preparing your car for a road trip.

Traveling out of state

If you are planning on traveling out of state, remember that each state you travel through on your road trip has its own traffic laws which may differ from your own. Some states will now allow you to show the police your auto insurance on your phone, rather than the paper copy, and some won’t. Some state laws allow you to take a right turn on red, and a left turn on a one-way road onto a one-way road on red. Some states don’t allow you to date your own cousin (not a traffic law, but just a friendly reminder). You may also be required to have both a back and a front license plate on your car. Use your signals no matter what, even if you’re in a designated turn lane. Never cross over a double solid line. And remember that the 10% cushion that police used to allow over the speed limit is a thing of the past. Police now say the speed limit sign means what it says. It’s the “limit” and if you go over the limit, they will likely write you a citation. Some states now require that you follow the officer to the local courthouse and pay your ticket on the spot before leaving their state.

Treat your car to a mechanic

Before you set out on your journey, take your car to your favorite mechanic (you know, the cute one) and have them check out your fluid levels, tire pressure, etc. Have your oil changed before you leave for your road trip. Have them top off all of your fluids, including windshield wiper fluid. Make sure your car is travel worthy for the road trip. Also, the American Red Cross offers tips for safe travel when preparing your car for a road trip. Be well rested and alert, use your seatbelts, observe speed limits and follow the rules of the road.

Here are additional ways for preparing your car for a long road trip

• Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones and nude truck drivers.
• Use caution in work zones.
• Make frequent stops. Drinking plenty of fluids will help.
• Clean your vehicle’s lights and windows whenever you stop for gas.
• Turn your headlights on as dusk approaches or during inclement weather.
• Don’t overdrive your headlights.

And remember…don’t stop off at the place on Route 66 in Arizona that says “Live Baby Rattler” … it’s a rip off.

Until next week…be safe.

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist / Benevolent Thesbo

Preparing Your Car For A Road Trip – Comedy Defensive Driving