The Most Important Road Trip Safety Essentials

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Road trip safety essentials (Photo: @adventure.whisperer via Twenty20)
Cheryl Knight · Writer · Sep 29, 2020
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    Road trips have long been a rite of passage for families during the warm summer months. Whether it’s a cross-country journey or a short drive to a nearby location, the road trip is as American as apple pie. But unless you plan carefully, a fun family road trip could easily be derailed by an accident or other unforeseen calamities. Here are the most important road-trip safety essentials.

    What to Have in the Car with You on a Road Trip

    As you set out on your next road trip, make sure you have the following road trip essentials in your car:
    • Driver’s license
    • Car registration
    • Proof of insurance
    • Car owner’s manual
    • Spare tire (in good condition and properly inflated)
    • Roadside emergency kit (battery jumper cables, two light sticks, reflective vest, emergency rain poncho, warning triangle, whistle, tire pressure gauge, and a window breaker)
    In addition to the items above, it’s important to have items associated with where you are going, including paper maps or a GPS app. A paper map is important, as cell service might not be available in all areas, especially those that are far away from populated parts of the country.
    You should also keep some spare cash with you, just in case you need some to pay for any road tolls or parking meters. Having a notebook and a pen or pencil handy is important in case you need to quickly write something down.
    Other road trip essentials items to take with you on your next road trip include:
    • First aid kit (including bandages, antiseptic, and medication, among other emergency supplies)
    • Flashlight
    • Water bottle (to help you properly stay hydrated)
    • Toilet paper (you never know when you might have to stop)

    Road trips During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    With the onset of COVID-19 in the U.S., taking a road trip during the pandemic has become somewhat of a challenge. The most important thing to remember is to check the area you plan on traveling to for any travel advisories or quarantine restrictions, such as a 14-day quarantine when traveling from specific states.
    You should also have enough masks and hand sanitizer for everyone traveling with you. Keep in mind that you should change out masks in between exposures to other groups of people or locations to avoid contaminating yourself with a used mask—so take extra.
    Also consider taking sanitary wipes to clean surfaces that you might come into contact with. You should also have a few pairs of disposable gloves to put on when refueling your vehicle to limit exposure.

    Solo Road Trip Essentials

    If you plan on taking a solo road trip, make sure to plan your trip beforehand. There are few things worse than being lost alone in a location you are not familiar with. In fact, it might be best to travel during the day when you are more alert, especially in bad or snowy weather.
    You should also pack a warm blanket in case you get stuck somewhere, as well as some basic food items, such as almonds to eat if you get hungry. This is especially true if you’re driving when it’s colder in the late fall or when winter weather sets in. You might even consider taking a book along to read when you have nothing else to do.
    By keeping the above safety guidelines in mind and making sure to pack everything you might need, you can ensure that you have a safe trip. Even though times are uncertain, especially when it comes to COVID-19, by limiting contact with others and following recommended safety guidelines, you can still have a fun and exciting road trip.
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