Taking to the highways this summer? Join the club: 71% of us plan to drive to our vacation destination instead of fly according to a new Jiffy Lube survey – which means you’ll have a lot of company on the road (and a lot of potential stress)! Here’s how to make sure your road trip is one smooth ride:
LIGHTENING YOUR LOAD!
The biggest drag on getting good mileage? Overloading the car! “The more weight you carry, the more gas you’ll use”, Says AAA spokesperson Geoff Sundstrom. So take a tip from the airlines and ask your passengers to limit how many “carry-on” bags they bring!
LISTENING FOR THREE CLICKS!
When putting your gas cap back on, listen for three clicks to make sure it’s sealed properly. If it’s not, gas fumes can evaporate, says Lauren Fix, author of Lauren Fix’s Guide to Loving Your Car. If you don’t hear any click? “Your cap is probably broken, but a new one cost just $10 at an auto store, and you’ll make it up in gas savings.”
AVOIDING A SPEEDING TICKET!
Sure, you know to keep to the speed limit, but seeing a police car on the road is still anxiety-provoking! Be prepared for speed traps ahead of time by logging on to SpeedTrap.org, which alerts you to speed traps along your route. Or download Trapster (Trapster.com) onto your cellphone or PDA, a free service that uses your phone’s GPS and internet to warn you of upcoming speed traps so you won’t be taken by surprise!
MAPPING OUT YOUR REST STOPS!
Before you start your trip, head to TripTik Travel Planner to map out your trip and find restaurants, hotels, rest stops and gas stations along the way. The site even gives you the cheapest gas stations on your route, with more than 100,000 listed – and their prices are updated every day!
CRACKING THE WINDOW!
Even if it’s hot out and you have the AC on, roll down your windows when you start to feel stressed. British research found drivers who do experience less road rage, stress and fewer headaches by bringing fresh air into the car – and it also improved driver accuracy!
ADJUSTING YOUR SEAT!
Believe it or not, pushing your seat back for extra leg room can cause you extra stress! “It forces you to extend your arms to reach the steering wheel, locking them into place, which is tiring”, say Fix. “It can also cause back pain!” Instead, push the seat forward so your elbows are slightly ben, which is a more relaxed, natural way to hold the wheel. “You’ll feel more comfortable and have more energy.”
USING YOUR HEAD!
About half of all adults and kids suffer from car sickness; if you start to feel queasy, keep your head back in the headrest and try to be as still as possible, says auto safety expert Jacob Nelson. “Car sickness is caused by a disturbance in your inner ear that can throw off your sense of equilibrium”, he explains. “Not moving your head is calming to your inner ear, and will make you feel better.”
NOT BREAKING OUT THE DVD PLAYER!
While a portable DVD player is a great way to entertain kids on long trips, “it’s the last thing you want for a child prone to car sickness”, says Nelson. That’s because when your eyes are fixed on something stationary, your brain and body still know you’re moving – and the system gets confused, intensifying motion sickness. Instead, play games that encourage you to look out the window. Go to MomsMinivan.com to find games, including car bingo games and a travel scavenger hunt you can print out.
The above information was taken from an article written by Alison Bell in Woman’s World Magazine July 2009