There’s no vacation more quintessentially American than a road trip. Whether you opt to cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway or hit Route 66 for your spring break, the gorgeous vistas and fun attractions help make the journey part of the destination. Sure, flying saves time, but road trips allow us to stop and smell the roses a little. Road trips are also incredibly affordable, making them one of the most popular options for college students eager to get away from the stress of school.
If you plan to hit the road this Spring, there are a few things worth taking into account. Follow these tips to ensure your time off is dedicated to having fun, not broken down on the side of the road!
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Get Your Oil Changed Before Hitting the Road
The freedom to get in the car and point it towards the destination of your choice is half the appeal of a road trip. While spontaneity can indeed be fun, it’s a good idea to add a sprinkling of responsibility before the excitement begins. Car maintenance is always important, but never more so than when hitting the road. Before you begin your journey, swing by your favorite garage to have your oil changed, tires rotated and systems maintained. It’ll save you a lot of stress knowing that your car is in the best possible condition before putting hundreds of miles on the odometer.
Don’t have time for a full workup of your vehicle? At the very least, stop by a gas station to check your tire pressure before you begin your trip. Underinflated tires can be bad for fuel economy, not to mention the added danger of rolling around with the increased friction between the tire and the road. That friction can cause tires to overheat and blowout – the last thing you want to deal with on Spring Break.
Check Your Insurance Coverage When Renting a Car
If you’re renting a car on Spring Break, do your homework to understand your insurance options. Car rental companies like to push expensive insurance add-ons to the price of your rental, but many people fail to realize that your own auto insurance policy follows you even on vacation. While you may want to splurge on extra coverage offered by the rental company, chances are good that your own coverage is more than enough in case of an accident.
Of course, it’s important to know just what your own coverage includes before opting out of additional rental car insurance. Check your liability, comprehensive and collision coverage before making a decision. You may also want to check on your health insurance and home owner’s insurance policies, too. In case of an emergency, you’ll want to know you’re indeed covered for medical bills, theft, and damage to the rental.
Respect Local Laws When Driving Abroad
For those traveling to another country for Spring Break, be sure to respect local laws when it comes to driving. Don’t assume your American driver’s license will automatically apply in a foreign country. Be sure you have all you need to legally drive abroad before getting behind the wheel. Fail to do so and the consequences could be significant.
Do your research to ensure you’re following the local rules of the road, too. Things we take for granted in the U.S. – like turning right on red – aren’t always applicable overseas. Even when traveling within the 50 states, cultural differences surrounding unspoken rules like passing in the right lane can be significant. Remember, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, and when it’s not immediately evident what the rules are, it’s time to do your homework.
Avoid Drunk, Drugged, Distracted and Drowsy Driving
For many people, Spring Break is synonymous with late nights, cold drinks and fun with friends. While partying all night long isn’t inherently dangerous, driving at any point on such a night can indeed be risky. Even those who stay sober can find themselves distracted and tired behind the wheel. Designated drivers aren’t immune to the effects of staying out all night!
If you plan to drive at any point on Spring Break, make sure you’re well-rested and focused on the task at hand. Never get behind the wheel if you’ve been partaking in mind-altering substances. Drugs and alcohol can linger in your system the morning following a night of fun, so take advantage of ride-sharing services and taxis if you have any doubt about your sobriety level.
No matter what you have planned for Spring Break, a little bit of research and preparation can go a long way to ensure a safe trip. After all, vacation is about relaxing, and the last thing you’ll want to deal with is an accident or traffic ticket. Should you find yourself in a legal conundrum, though, Lawsuit Info Center has the resources you need to salvage a Spring Break gone wrong. Use our car accident calculator to understand how much your car accident settlement could be worth.