October 20, 2021

Scottsdale Living

8 ways to stay safe during an Arizona road trip

Although the weather is turning chilly and the leaves are starting to turn in places around the country, there’s still time to pack the family into the SUV (or take yourself and a loved one) and hit the road for one final road trip!

Although you may not go to see the leaves turn as is the tradition in New England, there are still plenty of things to do and see in Arizona. But as with any trip, it’s important to be properly prepared and keep yourself safe — and there are some safety tips unique to Arizona that you should keep in mind while enjoying your road trip.

Stock Up on Supplies

Having lots of snacks and water for your road trip isn’t just part of the fun — it’s an essential safety measure. You should make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas, things like oil and coolant are at sufficient levels, and have plenty of food and water on hand — enough to last you a while if you happen to break down far from any help. Which brings us to our next point:

Have a Safety Kit

A safety kit should include food and water that’s set aside only for emergencies — but you should also have essential supplies like flashlights, flares, a spare tire, a first aid kid, jumper cables, phone chargers, and blankets. It’s much better to have these things on hand unnecessarily than to not have them when you need them.

Have Your Car Serviced

Ideally, before you go on a major road trip, you should have your car checked out and serviced. Make sure everything is in order and your car’s parts are in good condition. Maybe have the tires rotated if they need it. You might also want to check your insurance policy and make sure it’s both up to date and has all the coverage you need in case of mishap.

Know What to Avoid

Knowing what areas you should avoid on a road trip isn’t necessarily about crime or sketchiness (although it always pays to be cautious about that too.) Before leaving, you should inform yourself about the most dangerous roads in Arizona, where the likelihood of accidents is much higher. Avoid taking those roads at all if you can help it, and be extra cautious if you can’t. Also, make sure to check the reviews of any hotels or AirBNB locations where you might be staying.

Have Cash Handy

Even if you’re armed with your debit and credit cards, there are a number of reasons why you should have some cash stowed away in a safe place. Wallets and purses can get lost. Cards can be stolen or have to be canceled because of fraudulent charges. Ideally, you should have not only a reserve of cash on you, but also somewhere safe in your vehicle in case something happens.

Have a Safety Plan

And if something does happen, how are you going to handle it? Forewarned is forearmed, and even if your trip is uneventful, it will bring considerable peace of mind just to have a plan of action.

Some basic safety questions to address before you get started:

• Do people know where you’re going?

• Who will you call if you need a tow or other emergency services?

• What procedures will you take if your car fails or breaks down?

You might consider making an entire safety checklist or note for everyone involved in the road trip, so everyone knows what the plan is in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Take Breaks and Share Responsibilities

Most people are already planning to switch driving duties if they’re on a long road trip. But it’s also important to pull over and rest if you need to, not just for yourself, but for everyone in the vehicle. Get out and stretch your legs when the opportunity presents itself. It might also be wise to have a passenger handle the entertainment for small children who need it, so the driver can concentrate on the road. And, needless to say, make sure everyone’s buckled up.

Maximize Your Driving Safety

Finally, one of the biggest ways you can keep yourself safe is to practice safe driving. This means attending to the basics: watch the speed limit, drive during the day to avoid the more frequent nighttime accidents, and keep track of any weather that might prove troublesome on the road. Also try to avoid driving at peak times when traffic is heaviest (although it might be hard to avoid both this and nighttime driving).

No one relishes the thought of their road trip being soured by an emergency or accident — but if the worst does happen, it will be far less stressful if you’re prepared and know what to do.