Your elder brother has agreed to lend you his car.
You along with 3 of your friends will be travelling day after tomorrow to visit your hometown.
Four friends on a long drive – Music – Enjoyment – Laughter. That sounds fun.
Travelling by car can be an enjoyable experience – if you take care of some necessary things. Here are 7 tips to have a safe and happy car journey.
1. Get Your Car Checked
Will you ever leave for college without checking if you have your books, mobile, laptop, and your lunchbox with you? I don’t think so.
Likewise, don’t leave home without getting your car checked.
Make sure the car is in good shape. It’s always better to get the air-conditioner fixed in the comfort of a service station rather than waiting in scorching heat on a highway.
It was the summer of 1999.
I had to visit my hometown Lakshminagar (Muzaffarnagar) in Uttar Pradesh.
I started my journey early in the morning to avoid traffic. And I assumed that my scooter was just fine. Everything was smooth till I reached Meerut Bypass. I took a pee break. And then I tried starting it. Nothing happened.
I had to drag it for about a kilometre to find a mechanic. My assumption that my scooter was in good shape ruined the whole day.
Don’t assume. Get your car checked. Here’s a checklist.
- Are the tires in good working condition?
- Is the battery operating correctly?
- Are both the headlights functioning?
- Is there a sufficient quantity of coolant?
- Are wipers moving smoothly?
- How good is the braking system?
- Though you shouldn’t use it quite often, you do need it – Horn
Carry some essentials to avoid inconvenience:
- An extra tire with proper air-pressure
- Military knife
- Torch with new batteries
- Toilet soap
- Plenty of drinking water
Also, carry some spare water for washing hands, cleaning windscreen etc.
2. Make a List of the Things You’d Need
A good idea would be to plan for the journey in advance. Because if you forget something you can’t do without, you’ll have to buy it. And that would cost you money.
You can also take help from your past trips. Try to recall the things you carried. It helps.
3. Leave Early But Not too Early
Leaving home a little early in the morning helps to avoid heavy traffic, and it can save some fuel. But don’t go too soon either. Because –
- If there’s a technical problem in your car that you can’t handle yourself, you might face trouble finding a mechanic.
- If you get puzzled between the left turn and the right turn, you may not be able to ask for directions, because there may not be someone to ask at that hour. And mind you, trees don’t speak 🙂
- You might get stopped by police for checking and that may eat-up quite a good amount of time.
- You may get to meet some highway robbers, who may ask you to leave the car to make their car journey fun. (No, I am not trying to sound funny)
4. Carry Plenty of Food
Here is a general list to get you started (modify to suit your needs)
- Drinking water
- Soft drinks
- Snacks (chips, biscuits, chocolates and fruits etc.)
Be extra careful if you’re eating at roadside restaurants. Make sure you understand what you’re ordering and how much you’re paying. Some of them can overcharge.
5. Do Remember to Carry Your Medicines
Make sure you have some general medicines like anti-acid tablets, painkillers, and antiseptic cream in the car.
Keep the medicines ready beforehand. Avoid buying medication from highway medical stores. (I am not suggesting they are not genuine, but why take a chance?)
Nothing could be worse than being stuck in a traffic jam with a severe headache and no tablet in sight.
6. Spice Up the Journey With Some Kick-Ass Music
Travelling long distances? Carry some music. It’ll uplift your mood.
7. Stay Safe
Never consume any alcoholic beverage before or while driving. Some medicines may also make you drowsy or sleepy. If it’s not possible to avoid them, then let someone else drive. No compromise on safety.
Keep happy. Drive safe.
P.S.: Here’s a mantra I saw on a truck.
- ‘सदा भवानी दाहिनी, सन्मुख रहत ब्रेक, सब देव मिल रक्षा करें, पाँचों टायर समेत.’
And here are some funny lines that I saw on some vehicles in my hometown Lakshminagar.
- ‘दम है तो पास कर नहीं तो बर्दाश्त कर’
- ‘यू तो नूही चाल्लेगी’