Vehicle tips for road trips frequently focus on getting the car serviced, checking the tire pressure, and remembering to include a working spare. Add a tool set! Here are five more safety tips for children and adults that will keep you driving and arriving safely.
1. Bring extra fluids. This refers to a gallon of gasoline, a quart of oil and a gallon of plain water. Do not let the road trip vehicle overheat on that steep incline for lack of sufficient water, and do not run out of gas on that long stretch between towns in the Midwest.
2. Pack an extra fan belt and flashlight. Unless you know how to fix a Volvo’s broken fan belt with pantyhose — which is entirely possible — it is a good idea to have a spare fan belt on deck. Do not forget to bring along the car manual that tells you how to get to the fan belt and fix it. Assuming that the piece will break right around midnight, it helps to have a lantern or high-powered flashlight.
3. Have an earthquake kit. For Californians, this means a water tight bag filled with a day’s worth of food and water rations, basic first aid supplies, a spare jacket, and a blanket. Even if you do not hail from the Golden State, pack these supplies that will see you through an unplanned night of camping in the middle of nowhere; if you head for extreme locales — back country skiing or hiking in Death Valley in July — bring along supplies to last you for a week. Should you get stranded, it takes a while for rescuers to locate you.
4. Take along an emergency beacon. A road trip vehicle may work great on the highway, but it could easily give up the ghost after being driven for eight hours straight. If cell phone coverage is iffy, a beacon alerts rescuers to the location where to find you — and to come looking for you in the first place.
5. Stock a bug and guts removal kit. Safety tips for a road trip would be incomplete without mentioning a rather disgusting problem: road kill. Squished bugs, guts from that possum you hit last night and a host of other fauna eventually end up on the car. The kids are squeamish, and you need to remove the remains before they totally lose it.
Stock a removal kit with plastic bags, Simple Green, water, rubber gloves, and shop towels. The Simple Green does a great job of softening the remains; but quickly wash it off completely, because it does tend to harm the paint job.