Summer Road Trip Tips & Safety Guidelines

Family in car cartoon

Summer is here at last and many of us are ready to get out of the house and on the road!  In fact, more people are choosing to travel by roads rather than planes this summer because health concerns and lowered gas prices caused by the recent pandemic.  However, when planning a road trip vacation, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure you’re well rested and prepared before setting off.  Use the following tips to help get you down the road safely and comfortably.

  • Get plenty of rest before you start your drive

It may seem like common sense to some but it’s extra important to ensure you start your road trip well-rested, since people are even more liable to fall asleep behind the wheel in warmer weather.  Anyone driving should get at least seven hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before the road trip to build up your energy reserves.  It’s best to start in the morning after a good night’s sleep, not after a long, tiring day of work (unless you plan to stop). Take regular breaks along the way to stay fresh and alert, stopping roughly every 100 miles or two hours.

  • Check your vehicle before leaving

car with check off listAbout a week before you leave on your trip, have your mechanic check your car’s fluid levels, brakes, tires, and anything else that could potentially cause problems down the road.  Also, be sure your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have jumper cables and extra wiper fluid on hand just in case of any emergency.

  • Plan your route and rest stops ahead of time

One of the most crucial tips for road trips is to get out of your vehicle and stretch your legs every two hours or so.  Try to plan your rest stop points ahead of time, whether they fall at meal times, restroom breaks or are timed to allow for viewing interesting places.  Also, while Google Maps is a classic go-to for getting you where you need to go, having a physical road map on hand is always a good idea in case you get lost or if you’re traveling across areas where phone service is shoddy.

  • Keep current events in mind when traveling

newspaper cartoonWith the pandemic still impacting our lives, it’s important to remember to bring face masks and hand sanitizers on your travels, and continue to follow the social distancing guidelines whenever possible.  Your vehicle should also be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, much like the CDC has recommended doing for your home, before you leave on your road trip as well.  For other tips in safely navigating the roads during a pandemic, visit the USA today website.

  • Bring healthy snacks and stay hydrated

plate of fruit cartoon

Keep a well-stocked water supply at all times in the vehicle to help keep yourself energized and hydrated for those long, hot stretches of road.  By regularly drinking water, it also helps to further enforce regularly scheduled pit stops to use the restroom.  It’s also important to pack a variety of small, healthy snacks for the road, to keep your energy up and reduce your exposure to the less nutritional fast food options.  Things like baby carrots and sunflower seeds are good, road-friendly snack options because they’re healthy, easy to eat on the go, not very messy, and keep your mind occupied.

  • Maintain good posture while driving

For long trips it can be all too easy to fall into the bad habit of slouching in your seat to try and get comfortable.  However, by sitting up straight and making sure your seat is properly adjusted for your body, it maximizes your blood flow to better keep you alert.

  • Keep chewing gum on hand

The repetitiveness of chewing gum helps increase circulation and alertness, both of which are vital for a safe road trip.  Peppermint or other mint-flavored gum is preferable because the scent of mint has been proven to reduce fatigue and increase alertness.

happy family in car

  • Keep passengers entertained

Long drives, especially when kids are involved, can often lead to squabbles and driver fatigue.  However, by ensuring that you have plenty of time-killing entertainment on-hand, people will be less inclined toward boredom and bickering.  Some examples of quality, road-friendly activities include reading books, listening to audiobooks or comedy CDs, playing card games, playing games on hand-held gaming systems or smart phones, puzzles and other toys, playing the typical road trip games (ex: “I Spy”), watching favorite movies or binging a new TV series, singing along to a road trip-themed music playlist, etc.

  • Stay safe and be sensible when traveling

Explore the unknown paths to your heart’s content but be sensible and safe about it.  If advise from locals if they warn you away from certain areas, always make sure someone outside of your travelling party knows where you are and where you’re going.  Also, it’s a good idea to always keep a few gallons of water, blankets, comfortable shoes, a flashlight, and an extra gallon of gas in your trunk in case you get stuck somewhere unfamiliar.

  • Sign up for a roadside assistance service in case of emergencies


As much fun as road trips can be, they can also come with some uncertainty.  Give yourself peace of mind when you’re on the road in the event on an unexpected emergency by signing up for a roadside assistance program. Our NMC Security Shield Plan offers 24/7  roadside assistance and many other benefits and discounts for only $29 per month!  Learn more about our services and join today!




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