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As a kid, I have some pretty awesome memories of road trips I took along with my family. The summer sun, taking stops to photograph the beautiful roadside scenery, eating nuggets in the car and having hot delicious soup and sandwich in those cosy, sometimes sassy diners in the middle of nowhere. And finally the thrill of reaching a new destination.

Road trips can be super fun and adventurous, but a few careless mistakes can turn it into a nightmare and make you forever skeptical of taking one again. So keep a few things in mind and let the joyous journeys begin.

Drunk Driving is an Absolute No

Whether you are taking your wife and kids along and just want to enjoy the ride and the atmosphere with a drink or it’s a long lost group of buddies catching up on a road trip and some bonding, nostalgic drinking happening, always , always have one member who is not drinking and who can drive.

This should be one of the ground rules of a road trip. And, if you think that, no member of the group will abstain from alcohol, have a designated driver for the trip. By drinking and driving, not only are you putting your own and your dear ones’ lives in danger, but also violating traffic laws and risking arrest in a DUI case.

Checking the Condition and Servicing of the Car before the Journey

A car not functioning properly will be a major let-down in a road-trip and can also be very dangerous. Performing a safety and security check of the car and servicing it before you embark on the journey is an absolute must. The pressure and inflation of the tires, the lights and wiper blades should be checked thoroughly to prevent dangers of skidding, improper lighting and wearing off of tires. You could do this yourself or hire an expert mechanic or technician to do so. Along with the regular checking of the car, and getting it serviced to make it fuel efficient for the trip, you can also ask your technician to do an under-hood or under-vehicle inspection of the car to make it all ready for the long trip ahead.

If you opt for a rented car for your travel, check all its size and specifics before approving it for the journey. If travelling with kids, do ensure that the vehicle is fitted with necessary car seats for the kids.

Avoid Speeding and Distractions

I repeatedly resort to the cliché when on road, “speed thrills but kills”. Speeding causes much of America’s accidents and tragedies. It is an unnecessary peril. You are driving on dangerous highways, turning alleys; you are driving with kids, with loved ones. I fail to understand how one can think of speeding in such circumstances. Sure, speed thrills but is this thrill really worth all the danger you would be putting yourself and your loved ones in?

Seek thrill? There will be a lot of adventure-rides and sports for that, driving can be just as enjoyable, while following speed limits too.

In an age of constant virtual or technological communication, a large number of drivers talk on the phone, use a hand-held device or text even while driving. Brushing your hair and eating are other common distractions. While you might be confident of your driving abilities, do not forget that driving requires complete focus and attention and even the smallest distraction can result into an accident. So focus on the wheel and stay alert on the road. This would also involve not getting distracted and disturbed with all the chaos happening in the backseat whether it is the kids fighting or the friends laughing loudly.

However, if in very unfortunate situations you become involved in a car accident with no fault of your own, always keep the details of a trusted and expert car accident lawyer with you, whom you can contact immediately. Seek medical help, jot down all important information at the scene (if you are in a state to jot down) and then contact your lawyer.

You must be compensated for all the pain and suffering, medical expenses, hospitalization and car damage and your lawyer will help you in receiving the same.

Taking breaks

Road trips involve driving for long hours and one can easily get tired and stressed and lose concentration in the process. Hence, it is important to take frequent stops throughout the journey to get refreshed and concentrate on the road again.

Also if possible, the driving can be divided between two or more people if they all have licenses and are legally eligible for driving in the country. This distributes the driving responsibility and allows the driver to enjoy the luxury of being a backseater as well.

Know Your Route Well

It is obvious, but so important that still worth mentioning. Knowing the route of your journey and directions to your destination properly sums up the five important ways to stay safe on a road trip. While there are numerous applications and various audio guides to assist you on your journey, I would still advise you to study and understand the route you are going to be taking for the journey beforehand. It prevents a lot of unnecessary confusion, besides you can always seek additional assistance form all those applications. But knowing which highway to use and which turn to take where should be clear in your head first.

So here is hoping these will be of some help in that perfect road trip of yours. And, do not forget to pack some delicious and nutritious treats, an emergency kit (complete with medicines and sick-bags), tissue wipes and lots of water.