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Holiday Road Trip Tips from Truckers Who’ve Been There and Done That

With the holiday season in full swing, millions of Americans will be piling into their cars to visit loved ones this month. If you’re thinking about packing up the family and hitting the road, there’s no one better to turn to for advice than a seasoned trucker. These pros know a thing or two about long-haul travel, and they’re happy to share their tips for making your journey as pain-free as possible no matter the duration.

Here are 10 tips to make your road trip a success according to the men and women who know the open road better than anyone

  1. Start the day on a positive note and keep up that tone. Tell yourself it’s going to be a good day the moment you get behind the wheel and keep telling yourself this throughout your trip. Yes, even when someone cuts you off in traffic, or when your child is screaming and kicking your seat.
  2. Plan your trip in advance so you can avoid major cities during rush hour. This will help keep your wheels moving and your stress levels down.
  3. Have good entertainment on deck. Blast your favorite tunes and sing along, listen to your favorite podcasts, or enjoy some good audiobooks on the Libby app.
  4. Save on fuel by looking for stations a few miles off the interstate, and if you’re heading across state lines, make sure you check each state’s average cost of fuel, so you can plan to fill the tank in less expensive areas.
  5. Invest in a dash cam. These nifty little devices can provide peace of mind and help you capture scenic views and memories of your trip that you can look back on for years to come.
  6. Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready. Before you hit the road, it’s important to ensure your vehicle is up for the journey. This means having it serviced and taking care of necessary repairs. You’ll also want to make sure that your tires have plenty of tread.
  7. Know what to have in the car. You should pack an emergency kit that includes first aid supplies as well as a map or GPS, and things like a flashlight and a blanket. Also, be sure to stock up on snacks and drinks.
  8. Be prepared for delays. No matter how well you planned your road trip, there’s always a chance delays will happen. Whether it’s traffic jams or bad weather, sometimes delays are inevitable on the road. The key is to build extra time into your trip plan, have plenty of snacks, activities and entertainment on hand, and try to go with the flow.
  9. Keep safety in mind when making stops along the way. When possible, stop at big-name truck stops that are open 24/7 such as Loves, Pilot, Flying J, Petro, and TA. If you have to stop at a rest area, avoid doing so at night. If you must stop at a rest area after dark make sure they are well-lit, park as close as you can to the bathroom area and be aware of your surroundings. Do not try to park on the side of the interstate or an off-ramp.
  10. Roll with it. If you encounter people with road rage, try to understand they’re probably going through something you know nothing about and that has nothing to do with you. If someone is flipping the bird your way, try not to look their way and remind yourself, it’s going to be a good day.