Cross-country trips can be an incredible experience. But the truth is that you don’t pack for a road trip the same way you prepare for a life-changing move with all your worldly belongings to a new location. When there’s a specific destination and timeline in place — and a whole household of items to unpack — a long, leisurely road trip is probably best saved for another time.

In any case, be sure you know what you’re getting into. Here’s a list of some common hazards you’re likely to encounter on an extended road trip — and tips that can help you prepare for a high-mile journey.

High-mile Hazard No. 1: Unpredictable expenses

There’s something magical about the idea of driving a long distance. You imagine cruising down a long stretch of road in a picturesque countryside, your favorite tunes blasting from the speakers. But you might want to save that road trip fantasy for a time when you’re not going to whimper whenever you stop to refill the tank. Don’t forget — those painful gas prices are on top of the other significant expenses of a long drive, including stopping for meals, staying at hotels, and taking time off work. Keep in mind, too, that cars do break down sometimes, and it’s rarely convenient.

If you’ll be driving your car on a long road trip, be sure you’ve got emergency roadside assistance (like AAA insurance). Knowing how to handle common problems, like changing a flat tire and jumping a dead battery, can come in handy, too. Here are 11 more skills that can help. Before you go, stop by an auto parts store for serpentine belts, coolant, and motor oil. These are all relatively inexpensive, easy to throw in the trunk, and could keep you from being stranded on the side of the road in the event of a common break.

High-mile Hazard No. 2: Beyond excitement is… fatigue

The first couple of hours of your road trip might be exciting but staring at a never-ending stretch of highway tends to become monotonous after a while. That monotony can lead to sleepiness. Drowsy driving accounts for about 100,000 crashes a year, according to the National Safety Council. Beware of the signs (unfocused vision, trouble keeping your eyes open, constant yawning are just a few) and build in time for a few coffee stops and overnight stays to keep you (and everyone else on the road) safe.

High-mile Hazard No. 3: The witching hours

Certain times of day and night pose more hazards for our nation’s drivers. Rush hour traffic in urban areas certainly impedes progress. If possible, avoid driving through metropolitan areas during the hours

of 7am – 9am and 4pm – 6pm Monday through Friday. Especially these five cities with the worst traffic (according to the Wall Street Journal).

#5: San Jose, CA
#4: New York, NY
#3 San Francisco and Oakland, CA
#2 LA, Long Beach, and Anaheim, CA
#1 Washington D.C.

Outside of gridlock on the roadways, wildlife vehicle collisions (WVCs) are another high-mile hazard to avoid. These accidents cause about 26,000 injuries every year and are most common early in the morning (5 – 9am) and during evening hours (4pm – midnight) when deer are most active and traffic volume is at its highest. According to the Federal Highway Administration, WVCs occur along critical travel corridors in every state and for nearly all drivers across the country.

High-mile Hazard No. 4: Misalignment and other issues

Cars face a lot of wear and tear during long drives, and the opportunity for accidents increases with longer trips. From questionably maintained road surfaces to notoriously bad drivers, a long road trip presents risks such as damaging your vehicle and depreciating its value. Poor alignment causes uneven tire wear and forces you to fight with the steering wheel for the entire drive, making the trip even more exhausting, both physically and mentally. Poorly balanced and improperly inflated tires also cause vibrations, extend braking distances, and reduce fuel economy. It’s worth shelling out $150 – $300 for a proper alignment and tire balance before heading out on the road.

If you’re at all concerned about the drive or know of any existing issues with your vehicle, be sure to have them addressed and fixed by a mechanic before your journey. Waiting until you arrive could end up costing you a lot more than just a service visit.

Skip the high-mile hazards with a trusted auto shipping service

One of the biggest challenges of moving is deciding how certain items get from point A to point B. Who do you entrust with which belongings? Which items do you refuse to let out of your sight, and which can go into storage if necessary? Ultimately, you want to ensure that everything arrives at the new destination without getting lost or damaged. These questions should apply to your vehicle as much as to your favorite pieces of furniture and other irreplaceable items.

When it comes to packing up and relocating your entire life, forget the journey. Moving is all about getting to the destination with as few headaches as possible so you can promptly begin the enormous task of getting settled into your new home. At moveauto, we have 25 years of experience helping families transport their vehicles for the big move. We understand the pressures of moving, we’re familiar with the hazards of long-distance drives, and we’ve rescued more than a few stranded motorists. So, if you do break down, we can pick up your vehicle and transport it the auto shop nearest to your destination. If you’re facing a big move and need a trusted service to help transport your vehicle, reach out for a free quote or email us with questions about how we can help you avoid the long-haul headaches.

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