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August 31, 2009

Road Trip Rules: Have a Flawless Labor Day Vacation

Carmap Despite expensive fuel and economic uncertainty, millions of Americans will be hitting the road over the Labor Day holiday.  The National Motorists Association has developed a list of recommendations intended to keep a vacation trip a vacation and not a family disaster story.

1) Take An Extra Key
: Not many experiences are more frustrating than to be 300 hundred miles from home and to lock yourself out of your car. New automobiles can be a real challenge to enter, even by pros, when they are locked. Placing or hiding a key somewhere on the exterior of the vehicle will turn a potential nightmare into a minor inconvenience.

2) Your GPS Isn’t Infallible - Buy And Carry A Good Road Map
: That new GPS may be addictive, but they are not foolproof in every situation.  For example, a bad accident stalls traffic for hours on a major highway and has you stranded in unfamiliar country.  A good map may provide a feasible escape route, and will often provide an alternative to an official detour route that is much faster if you are in a standard passenger vehicle (official detour routes have to accommodate large trucks and busses).

3) Check Your Belts And Hoses
: Modern automobiles are remarkably reliable - they will absorb a lot of neglect and abuse and still get you to your destination. The weakest links in the reliability chain are coolant hoses and the belts that convey power to alternators, water pumps, and other components external to the engine. These too have improved dramatically but they should be checked over periodically.

4) Alternate Drivers If Necessary: Traffic accidents common to vacation travel can often be traced to fatigue and being in unfamiliar travel environments. Stay fresh, trade off driving, take breaks and get some circulation going. If you’re fresh and alert unexpected events or situations will be less likely to cause confusion or dangerous reactions.

5) Be Smart About The Traffic Laws:
Traffic laws and traffic signage are supposed to be uniform, but they aren’t. It pays to be careful though because, according to the National Speedtrap Exchange, there are over 50,000 speed traps in the United States. If you are ticketed, don’t fight your battle on the roadside. If you truly feel exploited, you can challenge your ticket in court by yourself, with help from the National Motorists Association, or through an attorney. Just don’t let it spoil your vacation!

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