There’s nothing quite like packing the family truck and enjoying the freedom of the open road. However, if you’re a parent, you need to safeguard yourself and your little ones.
How can you stay safe during a cross-country road trip? The tips below will help you secure your most precious cargo — your kids and yourself.
1. Tell People Your Plans
If you want to stay safer, take a tip from someone who roamed the world solo. Pass along your plans to friends and family. It’s understandable that in some families, your decision to travel during the novel coronavirus might raise eyebrows. Try to listen to their advice without sacrificing your plans — it is possible to road-trip safely.
Informing trustworthy people of your plans is akin to the police calling for backup before entering a hazardous scenario. If you don’t return or check-in as planned, they know to alert the authorities. Filling them in on your proposed route informs them where to look.
2. Take Plenty of Water and Snacks
If you spent most of your life in an urban setting, you might think the United States consists of one giant strip mall. However, you can drive for miles without seeing another soul in some regions, especially in the midwest and west. If you go to remote areas near Yellowstone, you’ll travel over 21 miles from the closest road.
Breaking down in the heat without water can prove deadly quickly. While snacks aren’t nearly as essential, you don’t think clearly in a crisis without fuel. Remember the adage about an army marching on its stomach? Pack ample provisions.
3. Secure Your Valuables (or Leave Them Home)
At best, a thief spies your laptop, and your derriere gets a bit damp from the rain that enters your broken car window. At worst, you lose irreplaceable client data — or your grandmother’s engagement ring.
Leave valuables like jewelry at home. You don’t need to impress anyone on your road trip, and sporting flashy bling only makes you a target for robbery. If you must take electronic equipment, pack laptops in cases with non-traditional styling and keep your cellphone in a front or inside jacket pocket to deter sticky hands.
4. Carry a First Aid Kit
Things happen on the road, and you don’t know where the nearest medical center is. Worse, a quick Urgent Care visit could set you back thousands if your insurance coverage lapses when you cross state lines.
Plus, ICYMI, there’s a pandemic raging. Every state — and sometimes different cities in the same region — have various rules. Carry a supply of masks and hand sanitizer to protect yourself and others. Even if local ordinances don’t demand it, it’s wise to follow CDC guidelines on preventing the spread of infection.
5. Double Up on Backup Chargers
The only thing worse than a dead cellphone is a frayed cord that won’t let it charge. Carry a variety of backup chargers with you. At a minimum, you should carry a car charger, a wall adapter for your hotel room and a portable solar battery if you get stranded miles from anywhere.
6. Learn Basic Vehicle Maintenance
If you don’t know that you should loosen the lug nuts before you jack up your car to change a tire, you should take a crash course in vehicle maintenance. You don’t need to learn how to swap out a radiator, but you should know how to refill it if your antifreeze leaks before you can get to a shop. It’s also wise to take your car to the mechanic for an oil change and check-up before hitting the road.
7. Take a Self-Defense Course
You won’t transform into Chuck Norris when you take a self-defense class like IMPACT. However, you will learn how much force it takes to fend off an attacker and get hands-on experience in a safe space. Teachers in such courses wear dense padding to let you hit them at full force without injury. Quality instructors also teach you tips on avoiding being a target, such as walking with confidence and purpose even if you’re utterly lost.
8. Stay Alert
Finally, as much as you want to lose yourself in the scenery, you need to remain alert on your cross-country road trip. This process involves both staying awake at the wheel. Carry ample cash or credit for hotel stays, even if you plan to sleep in your vehicle. You never know when doing so may seem unsafe.
When you take a cross-country road trip, you need to protect your safety. Safeguard yourself and any loved ones in tow with these tips.
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