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Traveling Safely Out On the Wide Open Road

When getting ready for a road trip, many people wonder if their trip will be safe because they are venturing out into unfamiliar territory. For the most part road trip traveling is safe, after all people do it everyday. These fears, although sometimes irrational, are perfectly understood. It is quite scary to visit a place that one is unfamiliar with. For example, you may wonder if the people will be hostile, the landscape friendly, or what to do if the car breaks down. Although fears may be holding you back from taking an exciting road trip, it is exactly this fear and excitement that make road trips an adventure and well worth it.

While planning your trip, make sure to research and plan and you will find your trip full of safety, sanity, and full of adventure.

Many concerns about road trips center around the unfamiliarity of weather and topography. For example southerners may be planning to travel through the Great Plains in winter and be absultely certain that they are heading into a frozen oblivion hundreds of miles from civilization. Maybe New Englanders fear crossing ice-covered passes over the Rocky Mountains, and still Washingtonians may fear that they will shrivel into beef jerky while traveling through Death Valley.

It may be easy to excuse these fears as totally irrational, but these are real for someone that has never experienced the terrain of their destination. The best way to be prepared is to do ample reasearch before hand, finding out the weather schedule, driving conditions, and the like to prevent driving into a disastrous situation. Accidents do happen on the road, no doubt, but you can shield yourself, somewhat, by gaining perspective and gaining learned advice.

The best way to protect yourself and your family is to gain as much information as possible to aide you on the trip. While searching on the web you can find ample and accurate information on weather, road conditions and other matters of interest to road trippers. One soothing thought is that these days it’s quite rare to travel more than 100 miles without coming upon a town or service station. Many times our cell phones aren’t reliable out on the road, but recently cell phone service availability has become much more prevalent than it used to be. For those times that your cell phone is truly down, make sure to equip yourself with a CB radio so that you can keep tabs on professional truck drivers who regularly report on road hazards.

After the fear of weather and topography comes the next fear of travelers’, encountering people who wish to do them harm. Groups that seem to be most affected by this fear are foreign travelers and young adults. These groups are set apart because they gain much of their information about America from Hollywood movies and sensatinal news heard around the country. The bottom line is that it helps to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for such circumstances. After all, you really never know who you will encounter in unfamiliar towns.

Although it is inevitable that you will find bad people around the country, there are also many more good people that are comfortable living in their towns and are, for the most part, very friendly. Often, we get the idea that people are different in places that we have never visited, but for the most part, we are all the same, living our lives from day to day, with many of the same challenges. If you find yourself emitting good common sense in your own home town, you will probably have this same common sense when visiting an unknown town.

When traveling on the road you want to be certain that you will be safe and return back home with your sanity in tact, especially if you’re traveling with little kids. By following these six tips for safe travel on the road, you will feel more confident about your upcoming adventure.

1. Don’t advertise your travels: It is important to try and blend in wherever you are, this may mean not leaving road maps in plain sight inside your parked car, making sure to unload your car with luggage when you reach the hotel, and if you have gear stowed on top, make sure to park your vehicle in plain sight.

2. Look like you know where you’re going: When you’re out and about seeing the sights of the town, avoid standing around looking at a map or a guidebook with a confused expression. By preparing ahead of time with directions to destinations you will feel more confident as you venture out on mini adventures.

3. Take an upstairs room: When you stop along the way at a roadside motel, try to obtain a room on the second floor, so that you can scan the parking lot and keep an eye on your vehicle from a better vantage point.

4. Consider the refund policy at the hotel/motel: Avoid staying at hotels that advertise, “No Refunds for Early Check -Out”. Most likely you will see signs like this at small mom and pop hotels along the road. If you choose to stay, make sure to ask to inspect the room before paying, you just might regret it if you don’t. After all there may be a reason for posting a sign like that, you might discover some unsavory conditions and be stuck not being able to check out early.

5. When you need a rest, use truck stops: As surprising as it seems, truck stops may just be the safest place to pull over for a quick rest, that is if you don’t mind the “big-rig lullaby” that will rock you to sleep. Most drivers keep their trucks running through the night. These stops boast 24-hour security and are visited by professional drivers who are used to being aware of their surroundings.

6. Chat with the locals: When you are around town, get local information whenever you can. You  may be visiting the coffee shop, the hair salon, or the local tavern, and these are all good places to chat with local residents. It is important to pick up a local paper and watch the local news to make yourself familiar with the surroundings. Keeping up with local events will not only keep you safe, but it will provide you the opportunity to have more fun by participating in events around town.

Road trips are meant to be full of fun and adventure. Why not channel the energy you’re spending on worst-case scenarios into simple and sensible precautions, and you will be sure to have a safe, sane, and enjoyable trip.