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5 Ways to Feel More Confident on Your Next Road Trip

Simple steps that will keep you moving safely this fall

S U V driving down a windey road with trees and a mountain in the background

Garmin

It's hard to beat the classic American road trip for adventure and excitement. But before you pack your bags and hit the gas, stop and make a plan to stay safer on your trip. From using smart-car technologies to taking care of a few car basics, you’ll be doing your part to keep the journey as bump-free as possible.

Follow These Tips

1. Get Your Car Serviced

Seems basic, right? It’s surprising how many people put this off and think they’ll just take care of any car issues once they’re on the road. Why do that to yourself? Schedule a car service appointment a few weeks before your trip. Be sure your vehicle passes the important safety checklist of items. That includes maintaining proper levels of fluids (oil, windshield, coolant and radiator), checking the battery, tires, brakes, wipers and spark plugs and having your oil and air filters replaced.

Couple taking a selfie on a city street while traveling on vacation

Shutterstock

2. Make Navigation Easy

Make your next road trip all about the journey, because you don’t just want to get there, you want to enjoy all the stops along the way. One great way to ensure you won’t miss a beat is to use a GPS device. You can find lots of things to see and do with the Garmin DriveSmart™ 65 navigator. It has road-ready features that allow you to map out your trip, add points of interest using the HISTORY® database of notable historic sites and access a directory of U.S. national parks. Finding restaurants, gas stations and hotels is a breeze with a bright, easy-to-see display. The navigator can even suggest time-saving alternate routes if you encounter traffic delays or construction on your route.

3. Assess Your Health

Driving may seem like a passive activity, but any extended road trip requires physical strength and endurance. Impaired vision or hearing can affect your ability to drive safely, so be sure to visit your doctor before your trip and have both checked and corrected if necessary. And while you're there, ask your doctor to review any medications you're taking. If a particular drug can cause drowsiness, for example, see if your physician can offer a better option that won't prevent you from focusing on the road.

Man driving in a convertible down a tree lined highway

Garmin

4. Obey Rule No. 1 – Safety First

Staying focused on the road can be challenging at times. Between reading road signs, finding your next bathroom stop or the ringing of your cell phone, it can all be very distracting. Put safety first and remove some of these distractions. A smart GPS puts the ease back into your road trip by allowing you to use your voice to set the navigation to your desired destination and then later hear turn-by-turn directions. Pair your smartphone with your GPS to receive incoming phone calls, weather updates and more – right on your navigator's 6.95-inch, easy-to-see display. You’ll wonder why it took so long to make a dedicated GPS your road trip companion.

5. Say Yes to Smart Technology

Gone are the days when a car's cutting-edge technologies were mostly confined to the space beneath the hood. Now the place for smart tech is front and center on the dash. You don't need a new car to enjoy the many benefits of such technologies. When evaluating your next GPS, look for an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box navigation device that offers a high-resolution display, simple menus and maps and traffic alerts, thanks to the included traffic cable.

Bonus Tip: Consider Taking a Driver Safety Class Before You Go

Sharpen your skills – and learn new ones as well – with a good refresher driver safety course designed for adults 50 and over. Driving, as you've probably noticed, is a very different experience today than it was even a few years ago. An in-person or online class will give you everything you need to feel confident on the road, from a better understanding of the new technologies in your car to a thorough review of traffic laws and regulations. And there's a potential financial bonus: Completing such a class may make you eligible for a discount on your auto insurance premium.