A road trip, no matter how short or long, is a fun way to take a break from life without having to spend much money—at least for most of the time. Like any other type of vacation, road trips also come with unique inconveniences, some mild and some complete nightmare situations.
Nevertheless, the ‘what if’s shouldn’t keep you from fulfilling the road adventure of your dreams. You do, however, have to come prepared if you want to avoid them.
That said, here are some of the worst road trip situations and how you can avoid them:
One of the worst things that can happen on a road trip is to have your car suddenly die on you—especially if it happens in the middle of nowhere. While it is impossible to erase this risk, you can reduce the chances of having your car fail on you by taking the proper precautions.
First things first, take your car to the shop—and a proper one, at that. Choose a shop with mobile column lifts for cars to ensure that mechanics can inspect your vehicle thoroughly for any signs of potential issues. This way, you can have problems fixed before they happen, which can help keep your road trip as hassle-free as possible. Better yet, get a tune-up while you’re at it, and consider upgrading certain parts so that your car runs better on the trip.
Another important precaution is to have all the basic repair tools in your trunk, as well as extra gas, a spare tire, and a fire extinguisher. In case your car breaks down in the middle of your road trip, you can perform basic repairs until you reach an auto shop.
Running out of gas
You might think that this situation is only for dummies who forget to fill up their tank, but running out of gas can happen to almost anyone. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have to drive through a long stretch of road without any gas stations in sight, or perhaps the gas stations that are on the route are closed. Either way, this is certainly not a situation that you wouldn’t want to experience.
Obviously, the best way to avoid this problem is by carrying extra gas in your trunk. But at the same time, make it a point to plan your gas station stops by marking your route so you can fill up regularly. If you are driving on back roads, fill up even if your tank is not yet halfway empty; you never know if it’s the last gas station you see for miles.
Many of us rely on technology to get where we need to be, and modern cars nowadays come with a built-in GPS. There is also an abundance of apps and gadgets that we can use to navigate our way through unfamiliar roads. But despite all of these technological solutions, people still get lost while road tripping.
If you find yourself really lost, if your battery dies or can’t get cell service, having a physical map can help you get back on the right road. Keep a map handy in your glove box—and make sure that you know how to read one.
Perhaps the worst fear of any driver is to get into an accident, especially a severe one. While on a road trip, you will likely find yourself driving through unfamiliar roads and back roads where a lot of wildlife cross. You don’t know where the exits or turns are, and you don’t have the pedestrian or animal crossings memorized, unlike back home.
The best way to avoid accidents is, of course, to drive carefully. It may be tempting to zip through the backroads since there is essentially no traffic, but keep in mind that there could be forest critters about to cross the road. If the impact is strong enough, it could be a fatal situation—both for you and the animal.
There is also a risk of hitting other cars if you speed or drive recklessly, which can be an even messier and more dangerous situation. Do yourself—and others—a favor and drive responsibly, wherever the road may take you.
On any road trip, there are always going to be problems. But if you want to keep those problems as mere bumps on the road rather than total nightmare situations, expect the worst and take the proper precautions to avoid them.