Don’t run out of gas. That may be the greatest tip I ever gave to our children when they were starting to drive. But wait. There are plenty of others. Before I publish my book (I’m expecting to sell a few million copies), I’ll give you a sneak peak to some of the greatest ideas about making your driving experience safer and perhaps more enjoyable.
Don’t ever let your teenager help you “fix” the preset radio stations. Whether you have SiriusXM or a standard AM/FM radio, it will take you years to undo the damage your child causes. Your presets of 70s, 80s and 90s hits will be replaced by stations that play songs you never want to hear again.
Your other preset stations, such as ESPN, Jazz, Car & Driver or News channels, will undoubtedly be replaced by a combination of rap/hip hop stations that sound like the Village People before they learned how to sing! (Not that they ever learned how)
Check your tire pressure more than once every 50,000 miles. I know. It can get confusing. You change your tires every50,000 miles (approximately) but don’t forget to check the pressure. If you ever wonder why your tires grip the road so nicely, maybe instead of 32 psi, you only have about 5 psi! It might feel good until you have to suddenly stop or avoid another oncoming vehicle.
Know and understand your dashboard. It’s not easy, if you’re like me, just about the time you’re ready to get rid of the vehicle, is when you finally are familiar with every light, button and knob on the dashboard. In fact, blindfolded, you could probably find the hazard button, cruise control and fog lights within three seconds.
However, it can be a life-saver if you recognize, for example, a warning light. A few months ago, an unrecognizable green light suddenly illuminated just below the windshield. I assumed the windshield wiper fluid was low or another insignificant issue had appeared.
But it was actually the tire pressure warning light, alerting us that the pressure was quite low. Fortunately, we were minutes from home and I had time to look through the Owner’s Manual to understand the problem. The next morning, the tire pressure was very low. Had we been driving a long distance the night before, the results could have been disastrous.
Don’t text while you drive. Of course, you have heard this warning at least a few hundred times. One more reminder might keep a teenager from texting when his eyes should be on the road.
Always travel with a GPS, especially if a male is doing the driving. You see, we, as a species, do not take directions well. In fact, we don’t take directions at all. Stop at the gas station to get help? Of course not. We would rather drive around aimlessly for an hour instead of asking for help. Perhaps it’s a gene we possess that females are missing.
The GPS will be a big time-saver in unexpected situations. Perhaps a wrong turn in a strange town. Perhaps unanticipated construction that detours you away from your original route. Perhaps you’ll easily find the longest distance between your home and your Mother-In-Law’s house. Sorry. Mother-In-Law jokes are too fun to pass up. Although, for the record, I get along just fine with mine!
Carry cash. Not $12,000 but at least $40. If you are traveling at least a few hours, then perhaps taking a little more cash is advisable. Like many people, you probably use credit cards for purchasing gas and perhaps food along the way to your destination.
For whatever reason, if there is an issue with your credit card, you’ll need cash. And maybe a lot of it if you need to buy gas. Also, if your car needs sudden repair work and you’re in an unfamiliar town, your credit card may not be accepted. Better safe than sorry.
If you’re planning to drive cross country…don’t. Maybe the Griswolds can get away with it, but you can’t. Something will break down, somebody will get sick, somebody will lose their wallet or all three will happen. Instead, fly, or spend two weeks cleaning, staining and enlarging your deck. If you don’t have one, you’re lucky.