Road Trip Guide - Page 31 - 7 safety tips for a road trip

Road Trip Guide
- Page 31
7 safety tips for a road trip
By Crystal Paul
The Seattle Times

Hitting the road with family, friends or all by yourself is a great way to see beautiful mountain vistas on a 10-day camping and hiking trip or simply to unwind on a drive up the coast to an elegant lodge or spa.

But don’t forget about being prepared for bad luck as you pack your bags. With these safety tips, you can ensure you’re ready for almost anything that can happen on the road.

1. Share your location
Part of the fun of a road trip is being untethered. But emergencies happen, so tell someone where you’re going, especially if you are traveling alone. You can download a locator app such as Find My Friends or Life260 to share your location with a buddy. Of course, phone batteries die, dead zones exist and occasionally you accidentally drop your phone into the stingray petting pool at the roadside aquarium you decided to visit. So plan a tentative route before you go, with details about where you plan to be and when, and leave a copy with a friend or family member.

2. Have a plan
Yes, this may take the fun out of being spontaneous. But having a plan doesn’t mean you can’t still make an unplanned stop at a shop advertising the world’s largest pizza. When you’re making a plan, the two most important factors are when and where you can get gas, and when and where you’ll be sleeping. Apps and online tools can help. On Furkot, you can map out your trip and even get suggestions for places to stop and sleep, eat or get gas. The iExit app finds your location on the highway and lets you know where the upcoming amenities are.

Some good, old-fashioned pre-planning can come in handy if you don’t want your trip to eat up all your phone data (or in case your GPS bites the dust). Use Google Maps to plot out your general route, take a moment to look into the major towns along the way (bigger cities and towns will be more likely to have gas stations and places to stay), and make a note of any stretches through national parks, nature areas or rural areas where it might be more difficult to find services. Before you drive through these places, make sure to get gas and consider how long it will take to get through them.

3. Invest in screens
In case you underestimate how tired you or your friends will be or the gas-station coffee lets you down, you need to pull over for rest. If you can’t find a hotel, be prepared to pick a designated rest stop and consider investing in some window coverings. They make it easier to nap without being seen as you drool onto the steering wheel, and keep curious strangers from knowing if you’re alone. Windshield sunshades will also keep