Don’t Get Stranded: Road Trip Essentials

Road Trip EssentialsPacking up the vehicle and heading on a road trip can be an enjoyable way to explore the countryside, a practical way to save money, or a fun activity for the whole family. Unfortunately, road trips can entail some hazards.

What to Do Before Your Road Trip?

Preparing the Vehicle

Before loading up a vehicle with amenities and potentially useful items, a driver should consider the vehicle itself. If a vehicle is experiencing issues, it may be untrustworthy. If a vehicle is prone to overheating, it may fail on a long drive. If a vehicle has electrical issues, it may fail to start when needed. Any significant issue with the vehicle should be corrected prior to taking the vehicle on a road trip. If the owner cannot correct the issue prior to the departure date, he or she should take another vehicle.

If the vehicle is currently trustworthy, then the owner should perform some basic maintenance and an inspection. The owner should change the oil if the road trip will be spanning several thousand miles, even if the oil is presently of good quality. Dusty areas include extra contaminants. The inspection should also include topping off all other fluids, including windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Inspecting all lights, inspecting the windshield wipers, and replacing any worn tires or brakes are also prudent acts.

Other Tasks

There are other basic tasks to perform prior to going on a road trip. Individuals who will soon be traveling should arrange with a friend or neighbor to watch their home for signs of criminal activity or fire. Individuals should also arrange to care for any pets that will be left behind.

If the travelers will be passing through any major cities, they should consider researching the city online. Most cities have high-crime regions, and stopping after dark in an unfamiliar area with a car loaded with valuables may not be prudent. Researching the area will also illuminate any points of interest in the city.  Our accident lawyer in Miami FL reminds us that it is best to review the rules of the road for the states in which you plan to drive; laws can vary, such as cell phone use (hands free or not), animals in truck beds, turning right on red lights, etc.

What to Bring?

On an extended road trip, it’s possible that the vehicle will be loaded with suitcases, spare clothing, and passengers. Removing some ordinary items from the vehicle may seem tempting, but owners should take care to bring essential emergency items.

  • Spare Tire, Jack, and Handle: Flat tires are a common problem on road trips.
  • Extra Mobile Phone: Inexpensive prepaid phones can help provide a lifeline to the outside world if the vehicle is stranded and the occupants’ phones have dead batteries.
  • Batteries: Spare batteries for any electronic device will help if a device dies.
  • Jumper Cables: With jumper cables, a dead battery is a minor annoyance.
  • Flashlights: Flashlights can help illuminate an unfamiliar area.
  • Beverages: Water can help hydrate an individual in an emergency.
  • First Aid Kit: Any first aid kit should include spare prescription medication for the vehicle’s occupants.
  • Road Flares: Road flares are useful for signaling a dangerous condition or melting ice.

For most people, driving thousands of miles on a whim is not possible or reasonable. Before heading out on an extended journey, individuals must ensure that their vehicle can handle the journey and that they have addressed any other issues that will arise from their absence.


Author Chris Bennett is a frequent road tripper and freelance author for an accident lawyer in Miami FL. Car accidents are an unfortunate and common occurrence during road trips.  It is imperative to know your rights and local procedures before embarking on an out of state trip.  The attorneys at can assist you in your education and preparedness before your next journey.


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