Take the Best Road Trip Ever
How to Avoid Car Sickness
Understand why you’re carsick. Motion sickness happens when the brain gets conflicting signals from your inner ears, eyes, joints, and muscles. The inner ears and the skin receptors sense that you’re moving, but if you are reading or have your eyes fixed on an object in the car, your eyes can’t detect that the car is moving. One of the main symptoms is nausea, says Gervais Fréchette, M.D., a travel-medicine specialist in New York City and San Francisco.
Counteract nausea by looking outside. Says Fréchette, “Look at the horizon or the distant scenery,” which helps your body send the proper messages to your brain. Get kids to do the same by playing car games, like the license-plate game or I Spy. And, says Fréchette, “position a car seat so that the child can see outside.” Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and sodium. All three can impair circulation, interfering with the body’s ability to sense movement.
Ask your doctor about medications. She may suggest Dramamine, Bonine, or Marezine. But skip the wristbands and electronic devices that are claimed to prevent motion sickness. “There’s no scientific data to support them,” says Fréchette.
How to Check a Tire’s Air Pressure
Buy a good air-pressure gauge. That may seem obvious, but it’s crucial. You won’t get an accurate reading from an air-pressure gauge at a gas station, and an accurate measurement is pivotal, because underinflated tires handle poorly on the road, says Andrew Vinciquerra, who owns A.V.A. Performance Inc., an auto-repair shop in Long Island City, New York, and specializes in prepping his customers’ cars for road trips. Because low tires spin with more difficulty, they require more energy from the engine and so waste gas. “Purchase a gauge that doesn’t run on batteries and you won’t need to worry that they’ll die,” Vinciquerra recommends.
Determine the ideal pressure. Says Vinciquerra, your car manual will tell you where to locate a sticker―usually on the doorjamb on the driver’s side―that indicates your tires’ maximum pressure, which is how much weight they can support. One tire at a time, unscrew the tire cap and place the gauge over the valve fitting. Press in for one second and listen for the hissing sound of escaping air. The gauge will lock the reading into place so you can see it clearly. If the number is too low, add air to the tire for 30 seconds, then test again. Repeat until the pressure is correct. Be sure to check the spare tire’s pressure as well.
How to Get Unlost on the Road
Stop and turn around as soon as possible once you realize you’re lost. Yes, you may be tempted to keep going in the hopes that you’ll miraculously correct your course. But the truth is, the farther you drive, the more lost you’ll get, says Laurie Borman, editorial director of Rand McNally.
Backtrack to the last landmark or exit that you clearly recognize. Even if it takes 15 or 20 minutes, you’ll save time and gas in the long run. If you stop to ask directions, be sure it’s in a safe, well-lit area.
Try to understand why you got lost. Did you miss a turn? Make a wrong turn? This is the key to not getting lost again. People tend to make the same errors repeatedly, such as zoning out and not seeing signs, and you’ll be less likely to make the same error if you know your weaknesses.