10 Important Safety Long Distance Road Trip Tips

Long-distance road trips are a great way to travel – all piling into the car to experience far-flung places.  You can go for really long drives that last weeks or even months or you can take a short getaway when you can’t afford the time or the money for a longer trip.

But with all long-distance drives, there are certain road trip necessities you need to complete.  One is to plan your road trip and the other is to stay safe during the long drive.

So how do you stay safe on the road?

Well, read on to discover these long-distance road trip tips to be safe and survive long drives.

In this Article Offering a Road Trip Safety Checklist You Will Learn:

road winding through foggy forest seen on a long distance road trip
Do you know someone who would find this useful?
Please share this with them
Image by Natalia Zamyatina from Pixabay

This post by Tips 4 Trips contains affiliate links*.  This means I may receive a small commission if you click on these links. Learn more at the bottom of this post.

10 Safety Tips for Road Trips

1.      Check the car

The number tip for long-distance driving is to check your car.  It would be best to get your car serviced.  But at the very least stop at the service station:

  • Fill up with fuel
  • Check oil
  • Check water
  • Check tyre pressure – don’t forget the spare tyre
  • Clean windows
  • Turn on headlights – this is always advisable for country road trips, as it helps let other drivers see you from a distance.

Top Trip Tip: To save costs fill up the car a few days earlier on whichever day is the cheapest in your town

2.      Towing

car towing carvan safely on long road trip
Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

If you are planning to tow a caravan, trailer, boat or anything there are a few more things you need to check to be road safe.

  • Install towing mirrors* as your rearview mirrors vision may now be blocked
    • This article explains the importance of towing mirrors and how they help
  • Check that your tail lights are working
  • Connect the safety chain
  • Don’t forget the spare tyres on the vehicle you are towing

Top Trip Tip: Be considerate and help others who may be caught behind you

3.      Emergency Kits

Flat tyre with jack from emergency road trip kit to fix
Image by Nicholas Jackson from Pixabay

Whilst all this preparation is great it is also important to plan for unforeseen moments.

  • The spare tyre is pumped up
  • You have a study jack and an appropriately sized socket with a long handle to loosen the tyre nuts
  • Safety cone or triangle
  • Spare water
  • Spare fuel
  • Jumper Leads
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Have a travel medical kit
  • Know the emergency contact phone number for the country you are travelling within

Top Trip Tip: If an emergency happens, drive your car right off the road to keep the road clear for oncoming traffic.

4.      Set up your mobile

Mobile phone mount on dash of car to stay safe on the road

We all know using mobile phones whilst driving is dangerous, so ensure your mobile phone is on a hands-free mount*.  It’s all about being hands-free on the phone and hands on the steering wheel.

Top Trip Tip: Choose a mobile phone mount that doesn’t block your vision

5.      Plan Your Route

Woman planning road trip route on ipad
Image credit: Pixabay

No doubt you already have a plan semi-organised already.


Personally, I love Google Maps to plan my road trip, it works offline and the lovely Google lady prepares me with which lane to be in and when to turn.  But you can use whichever sat-nav system or App that you like (tell me which one you prefer in the comments).  Just ensure you type in the details before you set off.

Alternatively, you can go old school and use a paper map.  Hopefully, your “co-pilot” will be the navigator so you can concentrate on the road.

Top Trip Tip: Don’t forget to plan in good rest locations for a break

6.      Driving Conditions

Assessing wet and foggy road on road trip checklist
Image by JayMantri from Pixabay

Along with planning your route also take into consideration the driving conditions you will experience when long-distance driving.

  • If it’s raining, go a bit slower and allow more distance between you and the car in front for breaking.
  • If it’s dawn or dusk, be prepared for the sun in your eyes, have sunglasses at the ready and your visor down low. This is also the more likely time that animals are about feeding so keep your eyes peeled for any that stray onto the road.
  • Driving long distances can mean getting caught behind trucks and caravans.  Remain patient, and wait for long safe stretches to pass.  Do not pass on bends or hills instead wait for an extra few kilometres or miles for an overtaking lane.

Top Trip Tip: Check your weather App before you head off to prepare for any unknown rain or storms

7.      Snack and Drinks

Coffe cup placed in cup holder near gear stick so driver stays safe on long distance road trip
Image by Jens P. Raak from Pixabay

Staying safe on long road trips involves keeping your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and staying awake.  Having a water bottle and healthy snacks^ like these at hand will help you to stay more alert.

  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Crackers – a variety of wheat, rice and corn options are great
  • Muesli bars.

Top Trip Tip: Get a spill-proof water bottle to prevent spillage whilst driving – thereby preventing an accident so you are not shocked by a splash of liquid

8.      Rest Stops

Stopping for a a rest during at York, Western Australia during long road trip
A park in York, Western Australia

Fatigue is one of the biggest causes of road accidents on long road trips.

If the snacks and food along the way haven’t revived you, stop!

Get out in the fresh air, walk around, visit the toilet and grab a cuppa.  In my home state of Western Australia, known as the road trip state many roadhouses offer free coffee for the driver.  Take advantage of these options.

Top Trip Tip: If you’ve got pets or kids choose locations for stops that include parks and playgrounds to help burn off their energy.  Haven’t got pets and kids then a nice setting may help you to revive that bit more

9.      Get the Kids Organised – Family Road Trip Essentials

Toys and snacks in bag next to toddler car seat for family road trips

The number one thing for keeping your kids safe during a road trip is to have them settled into the right age-appropriate car seat.  If you are flying before your road trip you can either pack your own car seat as part of your airline luggage or hire a car seat on arrival.

However, no trip will be smooth if you have whinging whining kids in the back of the car not to mention how distracting this noise is.  To ensure a successful long car trip with kids, entertainment is the key.

  • Get music ready to go in the CD player or iPod and perhaps even a movie on the iPad.
  • Have drinks and food preparation along with activities to keep them occupied.  Choose healthy food you know your child likes (to reduce the moaning).
  • Along with road trip activities for the kids that they enjoy such as sticker books, colouring, reading books or E-Tablet.  Remember you know your child best, some of these items may trigger car sickness so choose appropriately
  • Oh and have some ziplock bags handy in case of sickness.

Store these family road trip essentials in a bag or container nestled in the middle seat* or on a car back seat organiser* that hangs over the driver and passenger seats.

To keep kids happy doing these activities invest in some stable tables or lap desks*.  And check out the three essentials to pack for kids.

For more family road trip tips CLICK HERE

Top Trip Tip: Prepare your kids before the long car ride.  Tell them how long they will be expected to sit in the car (put it in terms they understand eg breakfast until lunch), advise them on how you expect them to behave and how they will be entertained.  The preparation will help reduce anxiety about the long road trip.

10.      Get the Pets Settled

pug dog looking out car window strapped in car harness to stay safe on long drives
Image credit: Pixabay

The police in Western Australia have been cracking down on people who are travelling with the dog in the car sitting on the driver’s lap – look I’ve been guilty of this too –  I know it’s not safe.

Ideally, when you travel with pets in cars you should have a travel cage* or at the minimum, a pet car harness* for your dog or cat and keep your car upholstery clean with a pet car seat cover*.

Place bird travel cages* in a secure place in the car using straps to hold the cage in place and empty the water.  Other small pets should also be placed in travel cages*.

Speaking of water don’t forget to pack a bottle of water and a bowl* to give your pets a drink during stops.  Also during your rest stops put your pets on your packed leash and take them for a walk to stretch their legs and do their business – PS don’t forget the poop bags and deposit them in a bin.

Top Trip Tip: Be prepared for animals to be anxious after a time in the car.  Remain flexible with having to stop a few times into the drive to help settle your pet

More Information and Tips for Long Drives

Road Trip Planning Guide – including:

  • Planning your itinerary
  • What to take on a long road trip
  • Making the long drive fun for all
  • Motion sickness

Self Catering Packing List – including:

  • Shopping list
  • Meal planner
  • Free PDF printable

Now you’re all prepared to have a safe road trip.

⇓  PIN THIS  ⇓


  • Image Credits:
  • As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
    • This means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link, however it does not cost you any extra to purchase through these links.
    • For more information please visit my Disclaimer Page and Privacy Policy.

Similar Posts