After the confinement of 2020, you probably need a getaway more than ever. A road trip can greatly benefit your mental health — you just can’t let a breakdown ruin your fun.
However, no matter how much preparation you take, your car might have a mind of its own. It’s impossible to anticipate every tire-hungry nail littering the roadway.
Learn how to handle a breakdown on a road trip so that fixing a flat becomes a mere inconvenience, not a dangerous nightmare.
1. Review Your Coverage Before Departure
If you aren’t a mobile mechanic, you might consider adding a roadside assistance plan to your trip’s budget. However, before you spend the cash, please read your existing insurance policy to see which benefits you have included. As glorious as separate services are, there’s no need to pay the extra cash for one if you already have coverage.
Remember, if you have a camper or trailer, you need to protect it along with your vehicle. Fortunately, towing companies can safely get you back on the road, even if you have trouble with your haul. However, if your insurer requires a rider to handle the things you tow, you need to obtain such coverage before tragedy strikes.
2. Get Some Automotive Know-How
You don’t have to learn how to rebuild an engine, but having some basic automotive knowledge can save you if you break down far from civilization. If you can drive for an hour or more without passing services, imagine how long it will take to walk for help.
At the very least, learn how to change a tire and ensure you have the right equipment in your ride for doing so. You should also make sure you know how to test your oil and safely add antifreeze to your radiator. Acquaint yourself with your owner’s manual so that you know what that light on your dashboard means.
3. Carry the Right Supplies
Today’s technology makes it possible to call for help with greater ease than ever before, but your cellphone isn’t worth a darn if you forget your charger and the battery dies. Make a list of items to take and check it twice, including the following:
4. Maintain Communication Lines
Whenever embarking on a trip, you should tell people where you are going and your anticipated return. You don’t want to lose valuable rescue minutes while responders try to find your location. Map out your route, even if it means pulling up Google Maps, and give a printout of your itinerary to a trusted friend or relative.
However, please avoid giving updates on your trip progress on Facebook. While it may not make you a target on the road, it could if you make it known you’re traveling solo. Plus, it alerts thieves that your home is unoccupied and ripe for the picking — 78% of the clever miscreants plan their raids using social media.
5. Understand the Terrain
In general, it’s better to stay with your vehicle if you break down in a populated region. Even if your cellphone dies, someone will eventually offer you help, likely a passing highway patrol officer. You can exit through the passenger side if you deem it unsafe to remain in your car, but it’s much easier for rescuers to spot an Audi than a solo person on foot.
However, if you break down somewhere remote without adequate supplies, you might decide walking for aid offers your best bet. In such cases, please understand the terrain and what threats it presents. While the eight 8-ounce glasses a day rule might apply in average conditions, you can guzzle more like 2 ½ gallons when hiking in the desert heat. Colder climates pose threats of frostbite and hypothermia.
Handle a Breakdown on a Road Trip Like a Boss With These Tips
You don’t want car trouble to ruin your vacation, especially one as deserved as the one to celebrate surviving 2020. Learn how to handle a road trip breakdown like a boss with these five tips.