After months of quarantines and economic shutdowns, we’re all eager for a change of scenery — a real vacation rather than a staycation. Gas prices are low, states are reopening and promoting their tourist attractions, and the open road beckons.
Yet summer travel in the wake of a pandemic could be far more challenging than anything America’s road warriors have encountered before. Most travelers are still shunning the airlines unless absolutely necessary, intending to drive if they go anywhere this summer — and that could mean heavier-than-expected summer traffic on many popular routes. And, given the persistent threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus, travel experts are urging motorists to take a range of precautions in order to protect their own health and that of others. Here are a few tips to help pave the way to a safe road trip.
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP
A little preparation goes a long way toward avoiding a crisis hundreds of miles from home. Any summer excursion that’s going to be more than a day trip should start with a basic checklist you should run through before embarking. Make sure that you’re up-to-date on oil changes, check radiator and other fluids, tire pressure and battery, etc. Pack an emergency kit, water and sunscreen, extra clothing and hats, cell phone and charger, essential medications, high-energy snacks.
Add to that list the items that have become essential gear for venturing out of your house these days: masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes. Some sources urge wearing disposable gloves when handling gas pumps and other high-contact surfaces, so bring gloves as well as plastic bags for disposing of the gloves.
Familiarize yourself with local virus-related restrictions and closures before you hit the road. The Centers for Disease Control guidelines for travel recommend calling ahead to determine hotel availability and cleaning policies, whether you can obtain contactless room service delivery, and other considerations.
SOCIAL DISTANCING ON THE ROAD
If you’re traveling with the same people who have been living with you throughout the stay-at-home restrictions, there’s not much downside to going maskless while you’re all in the car. Health officials do recommend wearing masks in the vehicle if that’s not the case, while making sure that everyone is getting enough oxygen. It’s also a good idea to keep windows open a few inches to help general air circulation in the vehicle.
In picking your stops along the way, look for operations with high standards for cleanliness and sanitation. Are the rest rooms clean? Does it look like mask requirements are being enforced? Is curbside service available, or does the restaurant have a patio or other open-air seating that allows for proper social distancing? As you would at home, be sure to wipe down frequently touched surfaces and wash hands frequently. And if you’re not comfortable with the situation, leave. There’s always another stop down the road.
FINDING YOUR BLISS
In general, it’s a good idea to avoid visiting areas that are likely to be crowded or involve long lines and confined spaces, so plan instead to build your journey around more off-the-beaten-track attractions. Think less-visited national parks or ghost towns or other aspects of the great outdoors rather than theme parks.
Build extra time into the trip for contingencies. Choose scenic byways over crowded freeways and aim to arrive at popular sites at off-peak hours. Grab an early morning hike, walk, or bike ride and beat the crowds. Support local businesses that take the trouble to make visitors feel safe and welcome. Don’t overload your itinerary with more than you can reasonably accomplish, and be prepared to detour and savor the moment.
And have a safe trip.
THE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you have been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 720-372-2824 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.