Nothing beats the excitement of hitting the road in the US. American road trips are a must, whether you are only driving from the airport to your rental villa or spending a few days visiting the area. Gas is relatively cheap, so more often than not, renting out a vehicle turns out a lot cheaper than any of the other options.

Whether you’re cruising down the iconic Route 66 or exploring the scenic beauty of the Pacific Coast Highway, staying safe should be your top priority. Did you know that according to an expert car accident attorney, the majority of crashes and collisions involves a driver who’s unfamiliar, either with the local roads or with the car they’re driving. So, you don’t want to take chances. Here are five essential tips to ensure your road trip is not only memorable but also accident-free.

Know Your Rental Car Inside Out 

This is a no-brainer. You should never drive a vehicle you don’t know. Before you even turn the key, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your rental car. This is the time to adjust the mirrors, understand the controls, and know the location of important features like the hazard lights and windshield wipers. Feeling comfortable with your vehicle from the get-go can make a significant difference when unexpected situations arise on the road.

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time 

GPS and navigation apps are fantastic tools, but planning your route in advance can save you from unnecessary stress and potential dangers. Check for road closures, construction zones, and any potential traffic hotspots along your route. Having a general idea of where you’re going can help you stay focused on the road and make timely, safe decisions.

Mind the Local Traffic Laws 

Every state in the US has its own set of traffic laws, and it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with them before hitting the road. Speed limits and right-of-way rules remain constant across the United States. But certain regulations, such as using a mobile phone while driving, can vary. For example, while you can’t text and drive in CA, there’s nothing stopping you from using your mobile at the steering wheel in NE. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, so take a moment to review the specific rules of the state you’re driving in to avoid unnecessary fines or accidents.

Stay Alert and Well-Rested 

Long hours on the road can be exhausting, leading to decreased concentration and slower reaction times. Make sure you’re well-rested before embarking on your journey, and take regular breaks to stretch your legs and refresh your mind. If you feel fatigue setting in, don’t hesitate to pull over for a power nap or switch drivers if you’re traveling with a companion. A well-rested driver is a safer driver.

Defensive Driving is the Best Driving 

Adopting a defensive driving mindset can make all the difference in staying safe on the road. This means anticipating the actions of other drivers. You will need to maintain a safe following distance and be prepared for unexpected maneuvers. It’s about being aware of your surroundings and making decisions that prioritize safety.

In conclusion, a safe and enjoyable road trip in the US starts with preparation and mindfulness. Whether you are up for a journey on the road or a simple trip, being careful with your hired car will make a huge difference.