Spring is a season of rebirth for many people, who welcome the warm weather with open arms, especially those who just endured a harsh winter. Spending time outdoors when the weather warms up is a popular pastime for many people each spring.
Road trips taken by college kids or high schoolers hitting the road for spring break or professionals and parents packing up the car for a weekend getaway have become synonymous with spring. A road trip is a great way to get outdoors and make the most of a warm day, but there are a few tricks of the trade drivers can employ to ensure their road trips are as enjoyable as possible.
* Give your car a good wash. Drivers who live in areas with heavy snowfall should give their vehicles a thorough cleaning before hitting the road for a spring road trip. Salt and sand can build up on a vehicle over the course of a snowy winter, so a power washing will help remove excess salt, sand or dirt and help the car run more smoothly.
* Get the vehicle a tune-up. A tune-up, including an oil change, should be part of your pre-trip planning. Make sure winter hasn't caused any damage to the vehicle's body and ask your mechanic to perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle's suspension and brakes. If any problems arise, address them before embarking on your road trip.
* Subscribe to a roadside assistance program. Roadside assistance programs, whether it's AAA or a program offered through your insurance company, provide a measure of security to road-trippers. Many roadside assistance programs provide variety of emergency assistance for members, including:
- towing service if your vehicle cannot start or operate safely,
- battery service if your car's battery needs a jump,
- flat tire service if you get a flat tire and don't have a spare or cannot change the tire yourself,
- fuel delivery service if your car runs out of gas, and
- lockout service if you lock your keys in the car.
These services can act as a safety net should an issue arise when you're on the road and far away from home or far away from a service station. Keep your membership card in your wallet and store their customer service number in your cellular phone should you accidentally lose your membership card or lock it inside your car.
* Bring cash as well as credit cards on the trip. When embarking on a road trip, don't assume you will have ready access to an ATM on your trip or at your destination. This means you may reach a point when you have no cash on hand. While it's a good idea to bring some cash along on the trip, bring a credit card or cards as well should you find yourself with no cash. A major credit card, such as a Mastercard, American Express or Visa, is likely to be accepted at most filling stations.
* Invest in a road navigation system. A road navigation system can be your best friend, helping you find your way in places with which you are unfamiliar. Road navigation systems can alert you to traffic conditions while providing directions and alternate routes. Some systems will even alert you to nearby filling stations, lodging or restaurants.
A road navigation system is a good investment for drivers about to embark on a road trip.