The Most Common Road Trip Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Now that summer is just around the corner, it’s easy to feel the buzz in the air. People are outside enjoying the weather, everyone is a little bit more relaxed, and it’s time for many people to take a vacation. As we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world (with one of the best highway systems), road trips have become a common summer vacation. However, many people still make some very common mistakes. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the most common road trip mistakes, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

average commute timeWasting Your Time in Traffic

You’ve taken time off, you have your friends and/or lined up, your bags are packed, and your car is ready to go. You’re finally starting to feel the fresh air on the open road, and that’s when you hit it. Traffic. There’s nothing worse than hitting a big long line of traffic an hour into your road trip, so that’s why you need to plan ahead.

If you’re leaving on a weekday, you definitely want to plan your route around rush hour. Between 4pm-7pm, you want to make sure that you’re out in the middle of nowhere where there won’t be much traffic. The average commuter already spends around 42 hours a week stuck in traffic, so don’t add your vacation time to that.

road trip budget Not Bringing Enough Money

The only thing worse than not having a vacation is taking a vacation and having to stress about money the entire time. Nobody wants to go hungry during a trip. Always, always, always, overestimate the amount of money so that you don’t run out three days into your trip.

Think about the meals that you’re going to eat, the beverages that you’re going to drink, the souvenirs that you want, the attractions that you’ll visit, and the gas that you’ll use. Then tack on more than that just for random, unplanned things.


When you’ve been driving for days on end, it’s very easy to start speeding (especially when you feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere). However, there are a bunch of reasons why you want to avoid this. First, the average speeding ticket will run you about $150 (which can definitely push you over your planned budget). While that’s a definite downer, that’s not even the worst of it. In 2007, the NHTSA found that speeding was a factor in 31% of all fatal car accidents. Stay safe out there.

Underprepared for an Emergency

When you are planning on driving around the country for days on end, there are so many different things that could possibly go wrong. It could be a flat tire, a broken-down engine, or even being stranded in a more remote part of the country. That’s why it’s so important that you go into your trip prepared.

Before leaving on your trip, make sure to:

  • Check all of your fluids (and stock extra)
  • Fill all of your tires (including the spare)
  • Have a set of tools in your trunk
  • Keep an emergency kit of supplies

Not Enough Entertainment

Although an 18-hour trip might not sound that bad, and it might not even be that bad for the first six hours, reality sets in fast. When you’re stuck in a small car with three or four other humans, it can get a little bit uncomfortable and boring. To avoid this unfortunate reality for as long as possible, be sure to bring plenty of different entertainment options.

Phones with various playlists are a must, but also think about what else you can bring. It could be a portable board game, a deck of cards, a book of trivia questions, or anything else that you can think of that might help keep you entertained during those boring stretches.

Summer road trips are one of the most classic American pastimes, and a vast majority of them go off without a single problem. If you come more prepared than you think you might need to be, you’ll reduce your odds of making a mistake even more. Enjoy your trip, be safe, and come back with plenty of stories to tell!

If Your Road Trip Goes Unplanned

In the terrible circumstance that you get into a car accident on your road trip, the car accident attorneys at Solnick & Associates, LLC are here for you. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you after you’ve experienced being in a car accident.