June 10

How To Avoid A Road Trip Disaster

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Let’s Go For A Drive…

I love the open road and the excitement of going somewhere fun or even somewhere not-so-fun. It doesn’t matter the destination because you are on a road trip! Who are you with? What snacks did you bring? What movies are you going to watch? Did you make a new Spotify playlist and call it “Colorado Vibes 2021”? Also, I am pretty sure that the kid inside all of us loves it when we get a semi-truck driver to honk his horn, am I right? Whether you’re alone, with family or friends, or even strangers, there is one thing that we all count on when taking a road trip: Getting to our destination safely. This is surely something we all take for granted. We think our cars will just keep on going no matter what. All they need is gas and oil every once in a while, right? (unless you have an electric car, but that’s another story).

Now, you are driving along and you are looking at all the scenery around you and you glance at the amount of miles remaining on the GPS. You take a concerned peek at your gas gauge as you go over a long bridge and pass a few more cars and you’re going just a few miles over the speed limit. Your wife just switched to her favorite female vocalists’ playlist as the cool drum part was playing in your favorite song, “In The Air Tonight”, by Phil Collins. It’s 100 degrees and the sun is baking in through your window and you are getting warm and then all of a sudden the air conditioning stops working and the temperature gauge is near “hot”. Then you notice your check engine light has come on along with something that says “Service Engine Soon” and a couple other weird looking warning lights that you have never seen before. You pull over because you aren’t sure what is going on. This creates stress on your trip and you wonder if you should keep on driving your vehicle in this condition. Will we make it to our destination as planned? Where can we get this fixed quickly? What should we do?

Here is what you need to do if your vehicle breaks down during a road trip.

  1. Get off the road and into a safe spot as soon as possible. The first thing you do is make sure you are off the road as far as possible.
  2. Search online for the best reviewed and nearest auto repair shop and call them. If they are not open, search for a 24/7 tow truck to take your vehicle to the shop. If you have AAA, call AAA.
  3. Ask the repair shop if they have a tow truck or a tow company they recommend
  4. Call the tow truck if needed and find out how long it will take to get to you
  5. Call the auto repair shop back after you have secured your tow and determine how long it will take to repair your vehicle so you can make hotel or rental car arrangements. If you can find a local walking path or coffee shop nearby to hang out at until your car is done, that will help the time go by without too much stress.
  6. Communicate with anyone else who needs to know about your situation

What if you don’t have cell reception or battery left?

Let’s pretend you are driving in the most remote of areas and have been streaming YouTube non-stop.

  1. Always communicate your path with a family member, when you expect to arrive, and set up a check in time.
  2. Pack an emergency kit like this one in your trunk
  3. Put out the emergency triangle so you can alert others you need help
  4. Pop your hood and put on emergency flashers
  5. Stay with the vehicle. This is your best shot of being “discovered” by first responders or a good samaritan.

Now, I sincerely hope you never have to do either of these. The best way to avoid these issues is to get your vehicle inspected before any road trip at least a week in advance so if any issue does come up you can fix them before they break. This will save you time and money while taking your vehicle on a road trip. If you are looking for more information for what you should do to prepare for a road trip you can read our blog for our top 5 tips!

Roads are bumpy and full of twists and turns. There are many mountains and valleys to travel and our vehicles can take a beating. They need to be checked on every once in a while, especially before leaving home.


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