Hitting the open road with friends and family for a road trip is one of the best feelings ever. You get to explore new places, restaurants, and sceneries. Whether it’s a short trip for the weekend or a long one where you’ll spend weeks on the road, you must prepare yourself accordingly. To help you with that, here’s a comprehensive road trip checklist.
Take Driving Courses
While you may think, ”I already know how to drive,” including a defensive driving course in your road trip checklist offers several benefits. For example, it can help you get points or a ticket off your record if you have any driving violations. Racking up too many tickets or points on your record can cost you a lot of money in fines and lost wages if the authorities suspend your license.
You’ll also have to spend more on buses, cabs, or other forms of transportation. Successfully completing a defensive driving course is an effective way of keeping your driving record clean. You can complete an online course, but check with your state DMV, insurance agent, or the court clerk where you received the ticket.
Whether you drive hundreds of miles during a road trip or a few blocks to the convenience store, you’ll always encounter road hazards. Putting yourself in a position to avoid potential threats is the best approach for staying safe. Defensive driving courses equip drivers with knowledge and techniques that help them proactively anticipate and react to different road hazards, such as other drivers’ carelessness, hazardous weather conditions’ poor visibility and road conditions, and dangers brought on by different physical and emotional states.
According to DriveSafe Online, over 40% of crashes happen at intersections, and your likelihood of getting into an accident increases when you pass another car within 100 feet of a tunnel, railroad crossing, or bridge? Unless you got your license recently, it’s probably been a while since you looked through local driving laws and regulations. Taking up a defensive driving course will allow you to refresh and enhance your driving knowledge and safety confidence.
Ensure Your Trailer Is in Good Condition
If you’re bringing your trailer along for your adventure, ensuring trailer parts are in good condition should be part of your road trip checklist. A faulty trailer can lead to sway, resulting in a serious accident. This is just one example of the hazards it poses.
Verify that the coupling is in good, clean condition and that there’s no slack going from left to right or up to down. Make sure the latch is fastened with cotter pins and remains in place when in use. You should also remember to secure the chains to the secondary couplings.
Before hitting the road for your road trip, check the tire pressure and fill if necessary. While at lug nut eye level, wear gloves and run your hand over the tires, checking for items stuck in the tire, damage, or punctures. If you use your trailer regularly, check the tread using a quarter or a tread gauge.
You don’t have to check the tread as often if your trips are more spaced out and you haven’t racked up too many miles on your trailer. Ensure the valve stems are in optimal condition as well. You should examine the condition of the wheel during your tire inspections. Inspect it for any damage, corrosion, or general wear that would be negatively impacting its intended use.
Depending on how often you use the trailer, the brakes, whether hydraulic or electric, need to be periodically inspected and repaired at least once or twice a year, but do it before your trip just to be sure. Check for stuck parts, wear, corrosion, and overall functionality. Confirm if the brake fluid is up to the right level and add it if necessary.
You should also ensure all trailer lights work before hitting the road. Hook up the trailer, turn on the lights, and walk around, ensuring all running lights are illuminated. Get someone to step on the brakes and activate the turn signals to confirm whether they work.
Inspect your trailer’s wiring for damage or wear, such as fraying, that may cause a short against the frame. Remember the rubber grommet wire access points. Your wires risk chafing and grounding out if they’re broken or missing.
Check the suspension system of your trailer as well. While most trailers use a leaf spring suspension, others feature axleless suspensions or torsion axle systems. Regardless of the type, they’re all exposed to everything underneath the trailer, including tar, gravel, dirt, road grime, and salt. Inspect the bolts, rubber, metal, and everything else, looking for signs of corrosion, deterioration, or other damage.
Make Sure Your Insurance Is Up-to-Date
Even if you currently don’t need to make a claim, it helps to know if your insurance is up-to-date. Auto insurance is required by law in most states. Ensuring your car is insured as part of your road trip checklist is particularly important because being on the road for several hours increases your likelihood of getting into an accident.
Most states also require proof of insurance before renewing your license plate and registration. There are different ways to confirm if your insurance policy is still in effect. You may either phone your insurance provider or log into your online account. If you’re planning to call, ensure you have basic information, such as your policy number close. If you’re logging into your online account, you’ll only need your login information.
You can also find out if you have valid insurance coverage by getting a quote. Agents can conduct a CLUE report to determine your current insurance provider and whether a policy has expired. However, not all appear in a CLUE report, so this approach may not always be successful.
Inform the agent you’re speaking with about your situation. Tell them you may have a current policy but need help finding out. The agent can let you know what carrier you have, contact them, and ask for a copy of your proof of insurance and declaration page.
Lock All Windows and Doors Before You Leave
You probably don’t check your windows and doors to confirm if they’re locked every day before you leave your home. Anyway, you’ll be back home later on in the day. However, when going on a long road trip, spend a few minutes just before you leave to ensure all entry points are secure as part of your road trip checklist.
By checking the locks, you won’t have a panic episode on the second day of your trip because you can’t recall if you’re sure you locked the basement door. Put a broomstick, dowel, or 2×4 in the door tracts and window’s path to give yourself even more reassurance. Note that even if you have iron windows, they’re only effective if you lock them.
Have a Lawyer in Your Back Pocket
While it may not seem necessary, keeping the contacts of car accident lawyers close is important to include in your road trip checklist. Unfortunately, the risk of getting into an accident is more of an eventuality than a possibility on the road. If you happen to get into one during your trip, you’ll want to have a lawyer in your corner.
In the moments following an accident, you likely won’t be in the right state of mind to know your legal rights and options. A lawyer will help you navigate the legal process and prepare you for anything that may arise. They’ll also advise on the appropriate course of action to follow in light of the specifics of your situation.
If the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, your lawyer will help you file a claim against that person. Additionally, they can inform you of the statute of limitations or the time frame for filing a claim. If you’re faced with a criminal charge following an accident, your lawyer can also help you understand your legal options.
Negotiating with insurance providers is a complex and time-consuming process. It’s common for insurance companies to try and settle claims for the least amount possible. A car accident lawyer can represent you during negotiations to ensure you get fair compensation.
They can also help you better comprehend and respond to offers made by your insurance provider. They’ll also inform you of any restrictions on your insurance claims. One of the most important reasons to keep a car accident attorney on speed dial is in case you need representation in court. Your lawyer can launch a lawsuit and defend you in court if they can’t reach an agreement with the insurance provider.
If Traveling by RV, Get the Necessary Repairs
In your road trip checklist, be sure to keep an eye on your RVs fluid levels. These may include Freon levels, radiator coolant, and engine oil. Check your tires for bulges, cracks, and other forms of damage.
Next, ensure your tires—including the spare—are adequately inflated. It’s also a good idea to have a professional inspect your suspension system and brakes and perform any necessary RV repair services to ensure they’re in optimal working order.
One of an RV’s most delicate components is the roof. Keep an eye on it to prevent your enjoyable road trip from turning into a miserable washout. You should also inspect your RVs appliances for indications of mechanical failure. This includes the freezer, fridge, stove, oven, microwave, and HVAC system.
Stock Up on Vape Supplies
Like socks, underwear, or your phone charger, vape gear should be on your road trip checklist if you’re a passionate vaper. Imagine bringing everything else but leaving the battery behind. Some of the vaping supplies you’ll need to get from local vape shops to enjoy vaping during your travels include the vaping device (preferably something small and ultra-portable), removable parts such as batteries, drip tips, and tanks, the device’s charger, extra coils and wicks, an extra set of batteries for in case you’re unable to recharge it, wipes or paper towels for leaks and drips, sturdy carrying case, and enough e-liquid to last your entire trip.
Make Sure Your Car’s AC Is Working
Considering how much time you’ll spend on the road, include car air conditioning repair and maintenance in your road trip checklist. In the weeks leading up to your trip, run your AC on defrost mode on the coolest temperature setting and maximum fan speed for ten minutes at least once every week. This keeps your compressor functioning properly, maintains gas pressure, removes moisture, and wards against mildew.
It’s especially important in the winter as it helps remove humidity and defogs the windshield. Poor AC performance brought on by low refrigerant levels can potentially damage the compressor. Check your refrigerant levels if you notice that your air conditioner isn’t blowing as much chilly air as it should.
Dirty air filters will impede airflow. Regularly inspect your filter and clean or replace it if necessary. You should also clean up your condenser, which you’ll find in front of your car.
Make Sure Your Car Radio Is Working
One of the best parts of going on a road trip is blasting your favorite playlist on your latest car audio system on the open road. That’s why people ensure their car audio systems are working as part of their road trip checklist. Use a soft cloth to remove dust and debris from audio system components such as the amplifier, speakers, and head unit.
Don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals, as they’ll damage the components. Verify that all connections are secure and corrosion-free. Faulty connections can result in distorted or static sound. Consider hiring a competent technician to professionally service your audio system so you can get the best performance.
Get a General Check-Up for Your Car
Even if you recently bought your vehicle, you should include having it inspected by your local mechanic in your road trip checklist. They’ll check for issues that can cause inconveniences during your trip. While you may believe that your car is in optimal working condition because it’s not making any noise, your mechanic is the only one who can tell you this with certainty. Schedule an inspection with your local auto body shop and auto mechanic shop two-three in advance.
Remember, you’re supposed to be having fun. don’t let the stress of planning get the best of you. Use this read to create your road trip checklist.