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Staying home for weeks on end makes everyone antsy to get back on the road to travel. Many people are already looking ahead and making plans for fun, extended road trips once quarantine is over.  But once that time arrives, don’t let that newfound freedom lure you and the friends and family you travel with into unsafe behaviors.  Here are some tips for planning a safe road trip:

1. Check your license and insurance.

Now’s the time to renew any of these essential items by mail or online if they are expiring soon. The last thing you want to worry about is being pulled over far from home without a valid driver’s license or insurance. Driving without a license is illegal in all states and typically considered a misdemeanor. Driving without insurance is similarly serious, and while consequences vary by state and your specific situation, you can expect anything from fines to jail time. If your documents are expiring soon or already expired, now is the time to renew them.

2. Get your vehicle checked out.

For starters, check those tires to see if they need to be repaired, changed, or rotated. Be sure to also change the oil. It may also be a good idea to have the entire car checked out by a licensed, professional mechanic so that you don’t have any unpleasant breakdowns or delays on the road. This is especially important if you drive an older vehicle. Of course, unexpected breakdowns can still happen, so it’s also wise to sign up for roadside assistance.

3. Map out your route.

As exciting as it will be to get out on the road after being cooped up for weeks, it’s best to resist the urge to jump in the car with friends or family and head out into the unknown without a plan. At the very least, draw out a plan for your driving goal that day, complete with hotels or other places where you plan to stay overnight. Having even a rough plan for where you will stop for food, gas, and shelter for each driving day will help avoid unnecessary stops and unexpected surprises.

4. Plan festivities ahead of time to avoid driving under the influence.

If you know you will be stopping to celebrate, plan out those destinations beforehand and know where you will be staying overnight to enjoy the food, drink, and merriment. Don’t plan on stopping at the occasional roadside bar or tavern without knowing where you will stay overnight after one drink or more. Even driving with any alcohol or other substance in your system can get you arrested for driving under the influence or while impaired.

  1. Establish an “all sober” policy for on the road.

Even if you’re traveling with other people and have a designated driver, stop to drink only when everyone has a safe place to stay overnight. Many states have laws against having open containers of alcohol or marijuana (in states where it is legal) in your vehicle, and some restrict passenger drinking even if the driver is abstaining. This site gives a state-to-state listing of open container laws, including passenger restrictions.  Even if you’re traveling with other people and have a designated driver, stop to drink only when everyone has a safe place to stay overnight.

Final words on planning your road trip

The end of quarantine and stay-at-home orders will bring a lot of people back on the road to celebrate their freedom and health. We’re all looking forward to that time, but all travel must be done safely. Plan your post-quarantine road trip so that nobody in the vehicle is driving under the influence. If you drink, be sure to use a designated driver. That way, everyone will be able to safely enjoy freedom on the road.

RoadGuard Interlock is the leading supplier, manufacturer, and service provider for ignition interlock devices (IID).  We make it a point to deliver a quick, easy, and accurate way of measuring your blood alcohol level every time you blow into the device. If you are required to have an IID installed in your vehicle, contact us to learn more about the industry’s most efficient and accurate ignition interlock device!

*Links to any third-party websites herein are provided for your reference and convenience only. RoadGuard Interlock did not create nor develop and does not own any such third-party websites. RoadGuard Interlock does not endorse nor support the content of, nor any opinions stated in any such third-party website links. RoadGuard Interlock is not responsible for the content of any third-party website or its accuracy or reliability. Nothing contained in this article or in any such third-party website shall be considered legal advice or be deemed to constitute legal advice. For any legal advice concerning a DUI arrest, charge, conviction, or consequences thereof, you should contact an attorney of your choice.