How Can I Plan a Road Trip During the Pandemic?

There is no question that the Coronavirus has put a damper on summer plans, particularly those who booked cruises or trips to international destinations. However, most public beaches are open, as are national parks and other outdoor attractions. In addition, gas is less expensive than it has been in years, hotels are offering reduced rates, and traffic is generally much lighter. That makes the summer of 2020 a good time to take a road trip. Safety remains a top priority, though, and social distancing rules are still in effect, but with the proper planning and an open mind, a road trip can be a safe and memorable adventure.

Whether they like it or not, the Coronavirus is forcing travelers to stay close to home this summer. According to the RV Industry Association, approximately 46 million Americans will take road trips in a recreational vehicle (RV) this summer, which is an increase of over 20 million from last year. For travelers interested in a home-away-from-home experience that avoids crowded hotels, many people turn to websites such as Airbnb or VRBO to book vacation homes that are within driving distance. Half of those trips were within driving distance of the traveler’s home.

Camping is also a great option for families to enjoy the outdoors. However, it is highly recommended that travelers research the campsite or RV park ahead of time to find out if they have made any changes to their operations. Whatever the destination, cleanliness is crucial to preventing the spread of germs and viruses.

What Steps Should be Taken to Ensure a Safe Road Trip?

Now more than ever, safety is a top priority. The following are effective recommendations that can help keep travelers safe and healthy:

  • Create a Coronavirus kit: When someone takes a road trip, it is likely that they will come in contact with other people, whether it is at a public bathroom, a gas station, or a convenience store. For personal protection, it is highly recommended that travelers assemble a safety kit that has the following items:
    – Disposable rubber gloves
    – Disinfecting wipes
    – Multiple masks or face coverings
    – Hand sanitizer and hand soap
    – Rubbing alcohol and/or bleach
    – Chemical-resistant spray bottle
    – Trash bags
  • Disinfect the vehicle: There are several high-touch surfaces on the inside and outside of a vehicle, including door handles, seat belts, steering wheel, gear shift, emergency brake, turn signals, and any other button, knob, or handle that gets touched on a regular basis. These surfaces should be disinfected with effective cleaning wipes every time the vehicle is used. When it comes to keeping the vehicle clean and sanitized, one cannot be too careful.
  • Stock up on essential items: One way to avoid exposure to the Coronavirus is to limit the number of trips taken to grocery stores and other establishments. Travelers should plan ahead and purchase what will be needed for the number of days they will be traveling. It is important to stock up on essential items, such as prescription medications and other necessities like toilet paper, bottled water, non-perishable food items, and anything else needed. Families should make sure they have plenty of snacks, particularly if they are traveling with children.
  • Take advantage of hotel and rental deals: Vacation rentals are well below what they normally are this time of year. That means that hotels and property owners may offer free upgrades, complimentary meal and drink plans, and other incentives to help their businesses stay afloat.
  • Negotiate contactless check in: If this is an option, it can help maintain a safe social distance when checking into a destination.
  • Avoid staying in places where social distancing is more difficult: High-rise hotels in densely populated cities are probably the last place people want to stay during a global pandemic. Travelers should consider areas that are more sparsely populated and staying in accommodations that have no more than three stories. Booking a room on the ground floor is a good idea, which means less interaction with other travelers.
  • Travel in small groups: Large groups that are traveling together may not be permitted in certain areas, so it is best not to travel with multiple families or households.
  • Travelers should do their own cooking: This may be the last thing travelers like doing while on vacation, but it will help maintain social distancing and avoid cross-contamination.
  • Plan activities ahead of time: It is best to do some research and come up with alternative plans if needed. Finding a bike path, flying a kite, or going on a hike are nice options. If inclement weather gets in the way of outdoor activities, families can stock up on puzzles, board games, and load extra movies on a hard drive.
  • Be respectful toward locals: If a traveler plans to leave a densely populated urban area for a retreat in the country, they need to be mindful that rural communities do not have the health care resources of a large city. It is important for travelers to maintain social distancing and quarantine requirements.
  • Review health insurance coverage: It is important that travelers have a plan if someone contracts Coronavirus or some other illness while on the road. It is a good idea to map out the location of the local hospitals and emergency clinics. Those traveling should make sure they know what type of policy they have and what services are covered.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected: Whether it is a flat tire, a broken windshield wiper, or a dead battery, travelers should be prepared. Roadside services, such as those provided by AAA, may be able to help, but if travelers are somewhere more remote, they may be on their own.

A Safe Road Trip Starts with a Safe Car

With more people hitting the roads this summer, it is important to make sure that a vehicle is in good shape before taking a road trip. If a traveler takes their vehicle to a mechanic, they should request the following service items:

  • Air pressure to be checked in the tires
  • Tire rotation
  • All filter and oil levels to be checked
  • Coolant and windshield wiper levels to be topped off
  • Transmission fluid to be changed, if necessary
  • Air filter to be replaced

Even when a vehicle is checked out and deemed road ready, it can break down. If this happens, drivers should pull over to the side of the road and turn the hazard lights on. It is important to make sure that the vehicle is a safe distance away from the road. Drivers should wait inside the vehicle until help arrives.

Baltimore Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Car Accident Victims 

If you have been injured in a car accident while taking a road trip this summer, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our experienced legal team has a proven track record of reaching successful settlements for a wide range of car accident victims. We will guide you through every step of the claims process and address all your questions and concerns. Protecting your rights is our top priority, and we will not stop fighting for you until we have secured the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood and Elkridge.