Hitting the road on your own can be an incredibly liberating experience. With no fights over the radio dial, you can sing loudly and shamelessly to your “Britney’s Back” playlist. You call all the shots and all the stops. And with these safety tips, you can ensure your trip doesn’t go from inspirational to horrifying.
>> Share your location: Sure, part of the fun of a solo road trip is being untethered. But emergencies happen, so tell someone where you’re going. Download a locator app such as Find My Friends or Life260 to share your location with a buddy.
>> Have a plan: Having a plan doesn’t mean you can’t still make an unplanned stop. On Furkot, you can map out your trip and get suggestions for places to sleep, eat or get gas. The iExit app tells you about upcoming amenities.
>> Invest in screens: When you need to pull over for rest, be prepared to pick a designated rest stop, and consider investing in some window coverings. They make it easier to nap without being seen as you drool onto the steering wheel, and keep curious strangers from knowing you’re in there alone.
>> Don’t lose power: Get a car charger, make sure it works with your phone and cigarette lighter or USB charge port. You never know when you’ll find your device flashing that ominous empty-battery symbol when you’ve taken a wrong turn or gotten a flat tire.
>> Know thy car: You don’t have to be a mechanic, but knowing how to patch things up until you can get to one is important. Learn how to fix a flat tire, and how to refill the oil, coolant or transmission fluid.
>> When in doubt, pack it: Movies make it look easy and romantic to jump in your car and go, but if you’re going alone, bring a well-stocked roadside kit with jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries and a gas can. Also bring basic tools such as a tire iron, car jack, screwdriver, pliers, adjustable wrench and pocket knife. Bottles of coolant, oil and transmission fluid are a good idea. Kitty litter is useful under the tires if you get stuck in snow. Bring a first-aid kit, a Mylar blanket and nonperishable snacks and water.