When the thrill of the open road—or the annual trip to your in-laws'—calls you, be ready with a safe car and a driving plan designed to help make your trip easier.
First thing's first. Make sure your vehicle is trip-ready with a maintenance check-up. Have your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, oil, lights, brakes, tires, exhaust system, heater, defroster, and wipers checked before you hit the road. If you're due for a specific checkup—like 50,000 mile service—it'd be wise to have that done too. Nothing ruins a vacation like spending three days in the middle of nowhere waiting for a car part to arrive.
Before you gas up, load your smartphone with helpful apps. (Don't use them while driving, of course.) Allstate has one that will get you out of most jams—Good Hands® Roadside Assistance offers 24/7 service help to everyone. No memberships and no annual fees; just call us when you need help and we'll be there.
It seems like common sense, but the time at which you drive can affect your trip's success, especially when you're traveling with infants or children. What time of day will you be driving? Traveling during the early morning or late night may mean the kids are sleeping, but it also increases your risk of fatigue. Plus, should you need to stop, businesses may be closed. Driving during the day is a little more predictable, but may mean that you encounter morning or evening rush hour traffic.
Will you be sharing the driving responsibility with someone else? If not, it's a good idea to plan for rest. If you need to break the drive into multiple days, plan how much of the trip you'll be tackling each day and reserve your hotel or motel room ahead of time. Try to plan your stopover in a populous area, that way your food, lodging, and entertainment choices are more desirable.
Take a few minutes to plan out your other stops along the way. There may be stretches of highway with no gas stations—a bad time for your gas needle to be on empty. Or, you may run into a big road construction project along the way. The Federal Highway Administration's website can help you learn about road closures, rest stops, and scenic routes for each state.
If you're not lucky enough to have a DVD player in your car, you may have to improvise. Road trip games like scavenger hunts, car bingo, and the license plate game never go out of style. Plus, you can never have too many books, portable games, and crayons. Don't forget a pillow and blanket too.
Before you leave, take a few minutes to get a no-obligation quote, find an agent locally, or simply call us toll-free at 1.800.ALLSTATE (1.800.255.7828) to see how Allstate's auto insurance can help protect you.
Published: June 2011