One of the best things about being able to drive a vehicle is the ability to go anywhere you wish. Many drivers love the adventure of taking a road trip to a new or unusual destination. Driving somewhere new requires planning, strategy, and knowledge. Here are some tips that will help make driving to an unfamiliar destination a positive and enjoyable experience.
Decide where you are going. Unless you are taking a literal road trip with no destination at all, you need to decide on an ending point. Identifying where you are going and where you are coming from is essential to being able to plan a route. Make sure you have correct addresses from reliable sources.
Use a road map. The most important thing a driver who is going somewhere new can do is plan the route he or she will be taking. There are several tools that can help you accomplish this. The first tool is a map. All drivers should keep in their vehicle a road map of their home city and preferably their state and surrounding states.
A paper map won’t be used often but it can become a lifesaver one day
Road maps can be purchased at almost any gas station and are often available for free at interstate rest areas. Road maps generally show all major interstates and highways and will assist you in planning longer trips.
Use online directions. If you are driving somewhere local, you might try to search the internet for directions. Google, Bing, and MapQuest are a few websites, among others, that have a function which allows you to enter your starting address and ending address to calculate exact directions.
Google maps allow you to print your directions with or without a map, or send them to your phone
These directions are mostly reliable.
Use a GPS. GPS, or global positioning devices, are tools that many drivers now use to drive to new destinations. These devices often attach to your windshield and feature both a map and an automated voice that gives you turn by turn directions to your desired location. If you are using a GPS, make sure to enter your starting and ending addresses before you begin to drive. Be careful not to allow the GPS to become a distraction while driving. As with any electronic device, have a backup plan in case the GPS fails.
Pay Attention. It is important to pay attention to where you are going when you are driving to a new destination for the first time. Look for memorable landmarks, changes in the geography of the surrounding landscape, and other markers such as road signs, major intersections, and bridges.
Read the road signs carefully, left exit direction is always marked at the top of the sign like in the picture above
Allow your passengers to assist you. If you are travelling with someone else, ask your passenger to help you. Let them enter addresses on the GPS, fold the map, or look for your next turn. Lessen your distractions while driving by allowing your fellow traveler to help.
Do not be afraid to ask for directions. If you become lost, find the first reputable business or travel center and ask someone for directions. Do not wait until you are completely unsure of where you are to finally ask for help. Most gas station attendants, interstate rest area workers, or even fellow diners at local restaurants will be happy to help you find your way.
Remember, driving is an adventure. The ability to drive opens up all kinds of new possibilities. Preparation is key when you are driving to a new place for the first time. As long as you have a clear idea of where you are going and you have acquired reliable directions, you should not have any problems driving yourself to a new place.
Finally, there’s a short video guide to feeling comfortable while taking a road trip: