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A Mom’s Car Guide to Summer Roadtrips

The spring and summer are made for taking road trips with your loved ones. And who better than mom to make sure all the boxes are checked to ensure the experience is as fun, sensible and safe as possible. Follow these tips and suggestions to get ready for your next great highway adventure. If that trip happens to fall on Mother’s Day weekend, even better!

1. Ready Your Vehicle

Get your vehicle road-ready before you hit the highway. Check your tire pressure, oil and coolant levels, and brake pads (most major brake repair places will offer inspections at no charge). And if your car is dirty, give it a good cleaning inside and out.

2. Program Your Navigation

Preset the various waypoints of your trip into your navigation system if it has this feature. This will help get you from points A to B to C without getting lost.

3. Check the Weather Report

In most parts of the country, summertime is the ideal season for long drives, but checking the forecast and road conditions is never a bad idea. You should be aware of factors such as rain and thunderstorms, floods, wind gusts and forest fires, among other hazards. The Federal Highway Administration’s website is an outstanding resource. Or at least the weather app on your cell phone.

4. Bring a Map

An old school map can be your backup when your navigation loses satellite coverage in the middle of nowhere. Technology is great until it falters. That’s when you need Rand McNally.

5. Pack Plenty of Games and Activities

Road trips are fun, but they’re also long, which means kids get bored. Keep them busy with books, hand-held devices, and a good choice of music and movies. Road games such as the "license plate game" and the "billboard game" are also great pastimes for the whole family.

6. Confirm Your Emergency Roadside Assistance

Anything can go wrong on a long journey. A flat tire, a blown engine, you name it. You don’t want to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. Roadside assistance means you have 24-hour towing services almost anywhere in the country. Check with your insurance company about this protection.

7. Wear Shades

Sounds simple, but very easy to forget. The sun can tire out your eyes and keep you from seeing clearly on the road.

8. Plan Time for Unplanned Stops

Road trips are not just about the destination. They’re about the journey, too. If you’re on a tight timeline, you may miss some worthwhile places along the way. Factor in extra time for unexpected stops. And if you see a cool roadside attraction like the world’s tallest thermometer (on Route 15 just outside of Las Vegas), pull over and take photos.

9. Get Around Rush Hour

Sitting in traffic is never fun. The best times to leave for a road trip are late morning or late evening. And steer clear of major metropolitan areas during peak driving hours. If you do happen to get stuck, it’s better to stop and get something to eat while you wait for the traffic to thin out.

10. Save on Food

Grab beverages and snacks from the grocery store. This way you’re not hitting as many convenience marts and fast food joints throughout the driving day. It will help you save time and money on your journey.

11. Visit Mother Nature

Hotels are nice, but for those either on a budget or just seeking adventure, camping is an affordable way to get some rest while also getting to enjoy the great outdoors.

12. Have a Blast

Road trips can be great fun for the whole family. Enjoy the adventure!

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