America truly has it all. From its three major mountain ranges to its forests, deserts, and coasts, you will never run out of sights on a road trip. The U.S. is also a huge country, crisscrossed by a multitude of roads and highways that may pose a challenge for the first-time traveler. Factor in different time zones, climates and local laws and a U.S. road trip might seem daunting. However, with a little advance planning, your American road trip can be a stress-free ride.
Watch When You Cross the State Line
Many laws differ from state to state. For example, across some areas of Texas, the speed limit is an astonishing 85 miles per hour, while out in California, a speed limit of 65 miles per hour is observed on roadways with two lanes. California, Oregon and Washington require hands-free phone use in contrast to Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa, all of which allow the driver to hold his or her phone while driving. Texting behind the wheel is generally illegal, so plan to pull over to make that call. State laws are usually posted at the state boundary. Make sure to look for them.
Keeping an Eye Out
More than ever, today’s driver needs to be alert. Some states are notorious for unsafe and reckless driving. When on the road, drive defensively and expect the unexpected. Whether it’s a car weaving across the lane or a trucker merging into traffic too quickly, scan three car lengths ahead to anticipate such anomalies. Likewise, eliminate distractions and don’t multitask. Save snacking, texting and changing the music for the rest area. The most common causes of distracted driving may seem minor but can be major.
Research Your Itinerary
Naturally, while you want to preserve spontaneity, it pays to research where you will be driving. At a bare minimum, investigate local weather and temperature conditions for the time of year you plan to visit. Plan wisely for these conditions whether it’s by bringing snow chains or extra water. Moreover, read up on local traffic conditions. While a GPS can be useful for on-the-fly suggestions, don’t rely on one exclusively. By investigating local conditions ahead of time, you will have a better sense of the overall journey.
Traveling enables you to unplug from the routine. You can return home reinvigorated with plenty of stories to tell friends and family. This prize lies just outside your door. There is nothing like a road trip and no place to take one like America.
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