Safety Tips for Road Trips
With the holidays coming up and most of us itching to get out of the house, you may be planning an upcoming road trip. In the midst of the pandemic, the Expedia 2020 Summer Travel Report found that about 85% of people were planning to take a road trip. Now seven months in, it’s likely just as many people will be on the roads in an attempt to get out of their houses for winter vacation.
If you are planning a road trip in the upcoming months, consider these tips from experts to ensure you stay safe and healthy while on the road.
Good hygiene on the road is much like that at home – washing hands before eating and after using the restroom – but requires a bit more care and attentiveness when it comes to roadside stops. Geriatrician June McKoy, associate professor of medicine at Northwestern Medicine, suggests that drivers wear disposable gloves while pumping gas. When using a public restroom, be careful not to touch fixtures like the faucet or door handle after washing your hand. And, of course, wear a mask.
Items to pack:
- Lots of hand sanitizer
- Extra masks for each family member, big and small
- Surface disinfectant wipes
- Hand disinfectant wipes
- Hand soap (you never know if the restroom will be out)
- Your own pillowcases
- Towels and extra blankets
- First-aid kit
Before hitting the road, make sure to call ahead to ensure places are open and have room for you. Many places, hotels, and restaurants are currently only accepting reservations to avoid overcrowding.
When staying at a hotel, McKoy recommends using your own sanitizing supplies on “high-touch” surfaces in your room. Make sure to wipe down any surfaces you may come in contact with like handles, faucets, tv remotes, desks, light switches, etc. For stays of more than one night, McKoy suggests contacting the front desk and asking to forgo housekeeping services, allowing you to control sanitization and limit the number of people who come in and out of your room during your stay.
Because many restaurants are still only available by reservation, you may want to plan some possible dining options before arriving at your destination to call ahead. If you are stopping at a fast-food chain, make sure to wear your mask and sanitize your table before sitting down. It’s important to note, that even if you are using the drive-thru, you should still be wearing a mask and sanitize your hands after receiving the food. This not only protects you but also protects the restaurant worker.
Tip: Pack a cooler of food and have a picnic somewhere along the way! Not only will this help avoid coming into contact with people, but it’s a fun idea.
Prepare your car
Since the car will be your home for the next few hours/days, make sure it is prepared for long travel times. Check the oil, tire pressure, and wiper fluid before hitting the road to see if you need to get anything done. Packing a spare tire is a good way to avoid major time delays if a tire blows. Jumper cables are also important to have on hand during a road trip.
Before setting out, make sure you have directions ready to go and easily accessible. Have the car packed in an organized way to avoid any spillage or mess if a sharp turn or abrupt stop happens. Make a list and check it off before buckling up and heading out on that much-needed road trip.