road tripsRoad trips are as much a part of American culture as baseball and Thanksgiving turkey. That desire to take to the millions of miles of roadways that crisscross our great country is rooted deep in our collective psyche.

You’ve probably taken at least a few road trips with friends and family. No doubt you’ve watched movies, read books and listened to songs all about the quintessential American experience of hitting the road too.

What better time to take a road trip than when the weather is sweet and the landscape is lush and green? You can take a journey in your car anytime of year, but summer is the definitive season for road trips in our country.

While there are thousands of places to explore outside of Alabama, our state has superb destinations that won’t require filling up tank after tank of gas to reach. There are a bevy of relaxing bed and breakfasts and inns sprinkled around the state.

The Limestone House Bed and Breakfast, Garden Path Inn, Mistletoe Bough Bed & Breakfast, and Forte Conde Inn are just some of the places you can regroup over a weekend. If you want to beat the heat, there’s always the Gulf or one of our state’s serene lakes that make for cool escapes.

Regardless of your destination, the whole point of a road trip is to explore and relax. Okay, maybe the kids will ask a thousand times, “When are we getting there?” Small annoyances are an expected part of the journey. To make your planning as smooth as possible, so you can enjoy your actual trip, we’ve got some tips for you below.

Safety First

  • It’s always a good idea to have a First Aid kit and flashlight in the car and within reach, and have the following in the truck: emergency flares, jumper cables and an extra tire.
  • Be sure you know how to do basic vehicle maintenance tasks. Must know skills would include being able to check the oil and radiator levels, change a flat tire, and jump starting an engine.
  • When you’re on the trip, don’t advertise to the world that you’re traveling. Be sure to hide road maps and travel brochures in your car so passerbys don’t spot it. Same goes for leaving suitcases, bags and valuables out. Stow them away or cover them up with a blanket. It’s too tempting for criminals to break into your vehicle and grab them.
  • If you need to take a break while night driving, choose large, well-lit areas. Yes, truck stops may seem sketchy, but most are actually patrolled by 24-hour security.

Packing

Going on a trip can be a joy-filled adventure, but probably not the packing part so much. What do I wear? What will the weather be like? Do I need to bring those dress shoes? These are some of the questions that can make packing a worrisome endeavor.

While we can’t help you with your clothing choices, below are some pointers on what any road trip packing list should include:

  • Water – yup, you can pick this up at just about any pit stop along the way, but it’s a good idea to have some extra bottles in the back in the case of an emergency. If you’re stranded along the side of a rural highway in blazing Alabama summer heat for too long, you’ll be glad you had something to sip on.
  • Munchies – much like water, you can pick up your favorite chips, granola bars or trail mix at a local convenience store during your journey. Still, it’s good to have some extra on hand in case you drive awhile through a rural area, or get stuck on the side of the road.
  • Paper Products – this would include tissues, napkins, paper towels and toilet paper. Tissues will come in handy if you or one of the kiddos has the sniffles. Extra napkins and paper towels are a must-have to wipe off greasy hands after downing a foot-long, or spilling your favorite beverage in the car. And toilet paper? You know. Those gas station bathrooms and rest stops aren’t always the most welcoming.
  • Medications and pain relievers – be sure to have enough prescribed medications to get you through your trip. If you are prone to allergies or feel a cold coming on, bring along some remedies for that too. Finally, having some kind of pain medication like ibuprofen is important in the event of muscle aches, headaches or some other kind of ache rears its ugly head.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen – you don’t want to be squinting through the glare emanating from other cars all day, do you? Sunglasses are as needed in the car as they are when you are outside sunning yourself on the beach. Most people should also be wearing sunscreen when they are out under the Alabama sun to prevent burns. Some of us even need sunscreen when in the car to keep our arms and necks from turning pink.

So many people hitting the roads in the summer can mean an increase in car accidents. If you or a loved one are in a car accident, the attorneys at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums are here for you. We focus on car accident cases and have won our clients millions in favorable settlements and verdicts. Reach out to our practice today to learn more.

 

Lee Pittman

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Lee Pittman is one of the founding partners of Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, P.C. Learn more about his background and featured practice areas here.

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