Car trips can definitely be a lot of fun, whether you’re by yourself or you brought the whole family along. You might see places you have never been to before. You can stop at diners and weird roadside attractions and get some pictures for your social media accounts.

If you head out on a car trip this year, though, you should make sure to stay as safe as possible. That means avoiding certain dangers and behaviors. We’ll review some ways you can stay safe while on a car trip in this article.

Avoid Tractor Trailers and Other Large Vehicles

The average family car weighs about 3,778 pounds. The average tractor-trailer, on the other hand, weighs about 80,000 pounds. Think of the astonishing difference between the vehicle sizes and weights.

If you are out on the highway, you need to share the road with these behemoths. They can legally use the same highways that you can, despite being so many times larger and heavier than you are. You need to make sure to avoid hitting one, or you’re sure to get the worst end of that exchange.

The optimal thing you can do is simply stay away from these larger vehicles as much as you can. Obviously, if you’re in stop-and-go traffic because there’s a construction site or a wreck ahead of you, you’ll have to stay close to one for longer than you might like.

If you’re near one on the highway, though, and you have an open road ahead of you, it’s best to speed up and try to outdistance this vehicle or slow down so that it can go ahead of you. If you try to stay away as much as possible, you make it less likely that one of these monsters can run into you.

Stay Hydrated

If you’re on a road trip and you’re traveling during a hotter time of the year, you should make sure to stay hydrated. That will probably mean carrying some bottled water or sports drinks in the car with you.

You might pick some up at a gas station or grocery store before you leave, or else you can stop and grab some along the way. You should find cold drinks at just about any rest stop, and they won’t cost you very much.

If you start feeling dizzy while you’re driving, pull over and have a drink as soon as you can. Also, make sure to run the air conditioner in the car, so you don’t overheat.

Stay Away from Dark or Deserted Rest Areas and Truck Stops

5 Useful Car Trip Tips

Crime happens at dark and deserted rest areas and truck stops. You never know if there are drug sales happening there or whether someone is waiting for a chance to mug you or steal your car.

This might sound like paranoia, but criminals are out there, and truck stops and rest areas often don’t have a police presence. If you are out in the middle of nowhere, with no law enforcement anyone around, it can be like the Wild West.

You can solve this problem by only stopping at well-lit rest stops, diners, and so forth. If you can see a squad car parked somewhere close by, that should make you and the family more confident as well.

Make Sure to Stay Gassed Up and Fully Charged

You might have a gas-powered car, and if you do, it’s best to start a trip with a full tank. You should also not let that tank drop below one-quarter full at any time. This way, running out of gas is unlikely.

If you have an electric vehicle, that’s great for the planet. There are several electric vehicles for road trip. For example, they are ideal for trips that cross multiple states in a day or for outdoor adventures with a group. The problem is that infrastructure does not exist all around the country yet to support such cars. 

If you’ve got an electric car, make sure to charge it fully before you set out on your journey. Also, check and see if there are charging stations along your route. There are apps that can show you possible charging locations.

Bring Emergency Food

You never count on the car breaking down, but it can happen, and maybe you’re in the middle of nowhere when it does. If so, you’ll want to have some food with you if you and the kids have not eaten in a while.

You can bring some car snacks that will keep for several months, like granola bars. If you have to wait for hours for a tow truck, you will be glad you have them.