Nothing screams summer like a car full of your best friends driving toward an adventure. Lake day? Hitting vintage shops in a small town across the state? Looking for that out-of-the-way diner? Camping in the national forest? The summer road trips are essential to lifelong memories; you want good memories, not horrible ones you wish you could forget. Whether your road trip is planned or impromptu, here are a few essential tips for teen drivers to keep you safe on the road and make sure your adventure is one for the books.
Pre-Drive Essentials – A Checklist
- Before you even hit the road, make sure your car is in the best condition. Check your tires and ensure they have plenty of air; a flat along the way – or worse, a blowout – can quickly ruin your day and take a valuable amount of time. Even worse, blowouts can cause accidents and injury. Plan to fill your tank before officially hitting the road, allowing you to cruise without interruption on your way to your destination. If you’re not sure how to change a tire, learn before you go. Changing a flat in less than 20 minutes is a lot less of a buzzkill than being stranded on the side of the road.
- If you know your destination, plan your route and have a backup route just in case. If you’re traveling somewhere new, you may hit a dead spot where your phone service is all but nonexistent. Never rely solely on your GPS to get you where you’re going. Pre-planning your route also gives you a chance to map out stops along the way if you need them: snacks, lunch, shops – you name it.
- Get your playlist ready or designate one of your passengers as DJ. Texting and driving is dangerous and deadly, but this also applies to all things related to looking at your phone while driving. Distracted driving in teens is a leading cause of accidents. Having a pre-set playlist takes away the need to search and skip songs while you’re driving. Make sure you bring your car charger!
- Let someone know where you’re going and what route you’re planning on taking. If you have car troubles or something unexpected happens, someone not with you has at least some sort of idea where you’re located to help you out quicker.
- Pack enough water for everyone in your car to stay hydrated in case of car trouble – a couple of gallons of drinking water packed in the back with your bags or gear won’t take too much space. Calorie- and fat-dense snacks such as nuts and dried fruits are also a must-have for road trips.
Road trips are a blast, and making sure you’re prepared is the difference between the best memories or bad experiences.