There’s one excellent way to gain experience as a new driver.  Plan a road trip, and drive. Drive all over the place, and take your closest compadres with you on your journey.  

There are, however, a few things you should know and do before you hit the road.  Being inexperienced, you will encounter situations on the road you may never have experienced.  Take a quick peek at this overview, and check out some road trip safety tips to get you there and back in one piece.

Prepare your vehicle for the trip

Before you drive across the country, you should make sure your main tool is prepared for the job.  Check the oil and all the rest of the fluids in your vehicle. Check your brakes and your tires for adequate tread/padding.  

Make sure all of the lights work correctly on the vehicle, and clean your windows.  There’s nothing worse than a smeared or fogged window when you’re trying to drive at night.  Start fresh.

Always have a few things on hand

No matter where you’re going, there are a few things you should always have in your vehicle.  Think of it as a mobile survival kit, and pack these things in your trunk.

  • Jumper cables
  • A jack
  • A tire iron
  • Post scrubbers
  • Spare tire
  • Water
  • Blankets

Make sure you’re well rested

If you are exhausted and sleep deprived, you won’t be able to drive a long trip efficiently.  It’s definitely not a good idea to party the night before a big trip. Make yourself get a full night’s sleep before you hit the road.  

Bring paper directions along as backup

Though we live in a very technologically driven time, your GPS is not infallible.  It’s always a good idea to have a backup set of instructions, just in case something goes awry with your location services.  

Understand how to drive with truckers

Driving alongside 18-wheelers can be intimidating for young drivers.  It helps to understand a bit about truck driving culture. When you’re passing a trucker, keep going.  Don’t waste time sitting in the trucker’s blind spots, as you could cause an accident.  

You should also pay attention to the signals of truck drivers, and we’re not talking about blinking lights.  When a trucker blinks their headlights at you, they’re either asking to move over, telling you it’s safe to change lanes, or saying thanks for clearing the path to change lanes.  

Protect your eyes and arms

Driving for long distances can set your skin up for an unexpected sunburn.  You may not even be aware of the rays burning your skin, so it’s a good idea to keep sunscreen on you as you travel.  

Your eyes can also be damaged by long term exposure to the bright sunshine of the day.  Keep sunglasses with UV protection on you to protect your eyes from damage.