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Thread: safety tips?

  1. Default safety tips?

    Hey. So I'm graduating next year from high school and my best friend and I are taking a big road trip from Dallas, Texas to Portland, Oregon. We'll be 17 and 18 when we go and this is our first big trip.. We will be going through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho to get there. We will be staying 5 days in Portland. Then on our way back we will be going through California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.

    We plan on being gone for a total of 2 weeks and we are bringing about $4000 with us for food, gas, hotel rooms, shopping, etc.

    But I have 2 questions.

    1) What are good sites to visit in those states?

    2) What do I need to bring to stay safe. There are no guys coming with us and we've never been west. So I want to stay safe.

    Thanks so much for your time!(:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A big "first step".

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The first thing that you should know is that to cover the miles you need to to complete your trip will take you around 9 days of driving for 9-10 hours a day, so with 5 day's in Portland you won't have time for much other than where you stop for the night. This is a lot for a first trip and I would suggest cutting back a bit, or adding more time.

    All you really need to bring to keep safe is the "built in radar" you use at home, the one that Set's alarm bells ringing if you sense something doesn't feel right. Don't put yourself in a position where you might find yourselves in a seedy bar in some back street, keep in well populated tourist area's and you should be fine. Remember, everywhere is someone Else's home town and they go about their business in the same way you do in your home town.

  3. Default Built in radar?

    What is a built in radar?

    And we are planning and switching on driving every 8 or 9 hours so we don't have to stop every night.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'm sorry, and you're not the first to make a statement like this, but to come on this forum and ask for safety tips and then make the statement that you don't need to stop every night is just baffling to me.

    One of the single most dangerous thing you can do is make the assumption that you can drive "8 or 9 hours" then switch drivers and safely drive for 8 or 9 more.

    Simply put, getting real sleep is essential both to safe driving and to having a good time. After 10-12 hours in a car - even if you have been a passenger for many of those hours - your concentration and ability to safely drive will start to decrease dramatically, very much like you are a drunk driver. That is the very reason that professional drivers are only allowed to drive a certain number of hours, and then must take a break from the road for a full night of sleep, and they are required to keep logs and very detailed records to make sure they are getting enough sleep. And as I mentioned, it will leave everyone completely exhausted and unable to have any fun and you'll certainly start taking out your frustration and lack of sleep on each other.

    If this is your first roadtrip and you have no experience with long haul driving, you should be looking to do less miles, not more - and that means you shouldn't plan to do much more than about 500 miles in any day. As such, I completely agree with Dave that you need more time, or need to scale back your plans.

    "Built in radar" is exactly what Dave described - common sense street smarts that should tell you that something doesn't feel right and you should do something else.

    One other thing you need to think about is your ages. Traveling with minors (17 year olds) is extremely difficult for a few reasons. It will be very difficult for you to find a room, as some places will require you to be 21 to rent a room, and the places where being 18 is allowed, typically will not allow an 18 year old to share a room with an unrelated minor. There are also several other issues you might not thing of, and might not come up, but they are still important - for example if you have a medical issue of any kind, a 17 year old will need a parents permission before any treatment can be given. Those are just a couple of the things where not being a legal adult can become a significant problem for planning a major roadtrip.

  5. Default

    Here is my safety tip.

    Drive only in the daylight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Excellent tip. I always try to be off the road by sunset.

  7. Default

    Very true. When I was young and dumb (no offense), I thought I could do that too. Drove from Chicago to Orlando straight through with my cousin, switching off. 18 1/2 hours, and we were miserable for 2 days after arriving. Never did that again. I'm not a morning person, but I will get up early to hit the road, then stop in the evening as it's getting dark, and hopefully cover 600-700 miles. Once did 702 in great weather, and that's about my limit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Here are some more safety tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Shinkles View Post
    2) What do I need to bring to stay safe.
    Mostly what you need is experience and situational awareness -- but since this is your first big trip, I'd suggest reading some of these tips articles -- not all of them apply to you -- but parts of each one probably do apply and will give you some ideas:

    Six Tips for a Safe and Sane RoadTrip

    Ten Tips for Safe Mountain Driving

    Compatibility Quiz -- Even BEST FRIENDS have different views about long road trips. I'd really suggest you take this quiz and talk about the results!

    By a huge majority, most solo road trippers are women -- here's some more information about that.

    Truck Stops can be a road tripper's best friend -- Here are some tips about how to use them.

    Here are some ideas you need to share with the 17-year-old and her family....

    Most important -- don't carry any weapons!

    Always have an ICE entry in your cell phone directory (In Case of Emergency)

    And really, really avoid using the location finder on Twitter, unless you really want everyone to know where you are at any given moment... Here's an article about how this works and the inherent dangers of such technology.

    Happy Planning!

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-24-2010 at 01:50 PM. Reason: One more tip!

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