Great Tips for Interstate Road Trips in the West

Road trips can be a fun activity that gets you places and lets you see many new things you’ve never seen before. If you love planning road trips, consider driving out West. You can head for the Grand Canyon or cruise along the Pacific Coast, but you’ll always feel the exhilarating call of the road, beckoning you to go farther and explore hidden gems and locations. To help you plan road trips in the West, this guide offers a few tips to ensure you never have to worry about inconveniences while on your journey towards something new. Read this article and make your road trips much more enjoyable and memorable!

1. Check Your Wheels

When planning road trips in the West or to any other destination, you should always check your wheels and ensure they’re in good condition to keep you on the road. Small rocks, nails, or potholes on the road can easily damage your vehicle’s tires. Before you even pull out of your driveway at home, you should get down and look for any possible issues that can make your wheels a threat to your safety.

A simple visual inspection can do the trick. Look at the rubber and treading, look for punctures or stuck objects, and fix them as needed. You can also see if the wheels look uneven. If one tire is a bit deflated compared to others, you’ll need to inflate it back to the right size. You also want to get close and listen. This will let you hear if the air is escaping from the tires, which tells you that there’s a hole that you need to mend.

Even if the wheels are good to go, it’s worth bringing a spare one in your car’s trunk. This can be a lifesaver when you encounter unexpected tire issues on the road. Ensure you also have a jack and tire iron to easily change the damaged one with the spare. If you’re unsure how to change a tire yourself, you should watch a few YouTube tutorials before starting the road trip. You’ll thank yourself later if you somehow burst a tire on the road.

2. Stop at Interesting Locations

The West offers many adventure destinations, but the drive is just as much an adventure you should enjoy. If you want to have as much fun as you can on road trips in the West, make sure you make a few stops at unique spots along the road. Especially if you don’t have anything important or time-sensitive planned, taking a bit of a detour can bring you somewhere interesting.

Look out for custom signs on the road pointing to somewhere outside the main road. These signs are usually so intriguing that you can’t help but take a turn and ditch the highway. You might find a good restaurant serving homemade blueberry pies or an obscure shortcut leading you to a serene lake. These little detours can make your trip memorable because you take a chance and get rewarded with something special.

And even if you don’t find anything particularly unique or interesting, you can still make a few memories along the way. You still followed the call of the road and learned a lesson that not every destination is worth visiting. Just ensure you avoid sketchy signage that promises something too good to be true. Always trust your gut if it’s telling you to stay on the main road, and you’ll be fine.

3. Ensure Working AC

Your car should also have a working AC to keep you comfortable while driving. Road trips in the West can be very long and exhausting, depending on your destination, so you don’t want to drive while freezing your nose off or sweating marbles. Before you start driving West, test your vehicle’s AC system and ensure it functions as intended.

If you don’t know how to check for issues in this area of your car, you should visit your mechanic for an inspection. They can look at the AC system and tell you if there’s anything wrong with it. They can also do some AC repair if it’s not working as it should. Although you’re delaying your trip for simple air conditioning maintenance, driving in a car with the perfect temperature is always worth it.

However, the seasons can also affect temperature control. Even if your vehicle has the perfect AC units, you might still have to make a few adjustments to improve your comfort if the weather is very cold or hot. For example, during a summer heatwave, you want to bring a portable fan to create airflow inside your car and some ice packs to prevent yourself from overheating. You should also keep a few chilly drinks in the backseat to quench your thirst and provide some relief from the sun.

4. Drive Sober

It should be common sense not to drive while you’re drunk, but it’s worth repeating over and over again for those people in the back. You should always drive sober to stay safe on the road. And it’s not just for your own safety but also for other people on the road. Driving under the influence is not just irresponsible behavior; it’s a bad decision that can change your life significantly.

If you’ve consumed alcohol before, you should already know what it can do to your system. It can make you sleepy, remove all sense of direction, slow down your reflexes, or take you out of it completely. Road trips in the West can be full of bar trips and wine tastings, so always think twice before you start your engine for a drive. Remember that it’s always better to keep yourself off the pavement than to call a DUI attorney to get you out of legal trouble.

If, for some reason, you must keep driving, make sure you have a sober friend to drive the car instead. This ensures you can still get your dose of alcohol and arrive safely at your destination. Or, you can just drink carbonated drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages to keep your inhibitions while driving. This is probably the best thing to practice as a driver, especially if you’re alone on a road trip. So, avoid the hangover and drive safely.

5. Tune Up Your Vehicle

You must also get the entire vehicle checked for convenience and safety, in addition to the wheels and the AC unit. When planning long road trips in the West, you should always remember that you may pass through empty roads and highways, so do everything you can to avoid getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. A full car maintenance inspection is one way to do this. It will ensure your vehicle is ready to conquer the road no matter how far you want to drive.

You might think your car is okay, but a quick visit to your mechanic is still advisable. They can inspect your engine and inspect all the moving parts crucial to safe driving, from brake pads and gaskets to oils and fluids. They can also examine the vehicle’s body and advise you regarding issues like paint scratches and dents. Their expertise will ensure you’re not only safe on the road but also sporting a car that looks right out of a dealership.

If you’re considering upgrades to enhance your comfort during your trip, consult your mechanic for recommendations. They can help you find the right auto parts to replace old models and install them correctly for maximum efficiency. Your mechanic may also suggest some aesthetic additions to boost your confidence while burning rubber.

6. Practice Defensive Driving

Road safety is of the utmost importance when planning road trips in the West, so it’s worth practicing defensive driving as much as possible. As more people bring cars to the road, the chances of getting into car accidents become higher. You might get involved in a serious collision or a minor fender bender, but you can avoid these incidents more easily with defensive driving.

Defensive driving is about prioritizing your and your passengers’ safety. The first step is always being aware of your surroundings to avoid anything that can put you at risk. Then, you should always wear your seatbelt. This crucial mechanism keeps you from flying out of the vehicle if you get into an accident. Finally, eliminate distractions. You can reply to that text later or take a bite of your burrito at the next gas stop. Keep your eyes on the road, and don’t let anything distract you.

These steps will save you from costly maintenance, including auto body repair and engine overhauls. You don’t want to spend your road trip in the hospital while nursing your injuries or, worse, fighting for your life. Always prioritize safe driving practices to keep making memories while traveling in your body’s best condition.

7. Follow the Speed Limit

One of the simplest yet most crucial rules of the road is following the speed limit. These limits are made to ensure the safety of people on the road, so don’t disregard them even if you think it’s a bit too slow for your liking. Especially when going on road trips in the West, where you might get tempted to drive as fast as you can on large and empty roads, make sure you obey these speed limits.

These speeds sometimes feel like driving at a snail’s pace. Still, they have carefully calculated speeds considering everything that can affect your driving, including the terrain, the road material, and even the local climate. This optimal speed allows you to navigate the road safely and reduce the chances of collisions.

And even if you get into an accident, you lower the chances of severe injuries if you follow the speed limit. You can easily reach out for help, get treated, contact your lawyers, and call an auto collision service to clean up the mess. Always remember that this is not a race. Road trips should help you relax and see new scenery, not endanger your life. If you follow the speed limit of the road you’re driving on, you contribute to safer roads around the world.

8. Keep Your Windshield Clean

Your car’s windshield protects you from strong winds when driving fast and any flying debris like leaves, insects, pebbles, and bird droppings. However, the car windshield can get so dirty that it obstructs your view of the road, reducing your safety. If you want to ensure you can see everything in front of you on road trips in the West, keep your windshield clean.

It’s not that hard to clean your windshield. If it’s relatively clean, you can dust it off with a duster. If it has some dirt and grime, you can use a wet cloth, some Windex, and a wiper to clean it. You can also just use your car’s windshield wipers to remove anything on the glass. What’s hard is finding the motivation to clean the surface. So, if you’re looking for a reason to do it, think of your safety.

While at it, you should also check for issues like cracks in the glass. Small stones or pebbles can become airborne and hit your car’s windshield at high speeds, damaging the material. If you find even the tiniest crack, contact your local auto glass repair shop to deal with it. These small fractures can grow quickly while you’re driving, which can cause them to shatter and start an accident.

9. Prepare for Emergencies

No matter how well you maintain your vehicle or drive as safely as possible, you can still get into accidents or other road emergencies on your road trips in the West. Invest your time and energy in preparing for anything and everything to get out of these inevitable inconveniences as soon as possible. This will help you get to your destination faster without all the hassle.

You can do some simple things to prepare yourself and your car for the trip. First, create a first aid kit with all the essentials, from bandages and antiseptic wipes to flashlights and medication. You should also bring preserved snacks and drinks if you get stuck somewhere without help. Additionally, ensure you get the contact details of your local roadside assistance to help you if your car breaks down in the middle of the road.

10. Invest in a Dashboard Cam

Finally, a good tip for people planning road trips in the West is to install a dash cam on their vehicles. This camera doesn’t just capture your fun moments on the road but can also record crucial moments like road accidents or police encounters that can be held as evidence if you ever get in trouble. It can even deter thieves! Your dashboard camera doesn’t have to be an expensive piece of equipment. You can buy a cheap one online and stick it on your car without special tools. It will give you peace of mind as you drive toward the other side of the country.

Road trips in the West are always exciting, but you should prepare well to reduce the risks of minor inconveniences and accidents. To stay safe on the road, maintain your car well and practice defensive driving. Make sure you make the vehicle as comfortable as possible, and follow the road rules. Finally, enjoy the ride, be spontaneous occasionally, and cherish the new sights. With these tips, you’ll surely remember your road trip as one of the best moments in your life.

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