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Road Trip Safety | Preparing & Packing for Your Next Adventure

Road Trip Safety

Safety Overview

There is for sure not a shortage of places to road trip in the southwest but from point to point amenities can be scarce! (And that includes cell phone reception!!!) With this in mind, make sure you plan ahead to ensure your safety during your road trip as you never know what can happen.

I personally keep a lot of these items in my Jeep every day because I have been stuck on the highway locally for HOURS and am thankful I have the items that I do.

Also, I recommend that you consider AAA membership to take advantage of their savings, and to help when you are stuck on the side of the road and need help.

Oh… and don’t forget to download all the mobile apps you may need on your trip!


Prepare Your Vehicle

Road Trip Safety

Road trips can be hard on your vehicle by pushing it to performance limits, especially if you are in areas with lots of mountains or extreme weather conditions. To protect your vehicle and for your safety, make sure you check the following before you head out. (Yes, some of these are very basic items but sometimes they are so basic, people skip over them!)

  • Top off all your fluids – oil, windshield wipers, etc.
  • Windshield wipers – in Vegas, they dry fast and crack and we don’t realize they are goners until it is too late
  • All lights on your vehicle working and no cracked or broken lights
  • The tires are in good condition, have good pressure, and you have a full-sized spare that is in the same condition
  • Check your brakes – are they making any odd noises and are they responsive
  • Check for leaks

Potential spare items to pack

  • Wiper fluid (I go through a lot of it while off-roading)
  • Spare wiper blades
  • Tire inflator
  • Flat tire fix in a can
  • Jumper cables (I carry the one that is charged by my car and I can jump myself if needed)

Safety Kits

First Aid Kit

A good first aid kit is a must to keep in our car whether you are road-tripping or cruising around locally. You never know when you will need a bandage or something you may not normally keep handy. You can keep something simple behind the seat in a pocket or go bigger with the one you keep where you have more room to store.

View emergency first aid kit options and vehicle emergency kit options.


Things that will make your road trip suck… one of the biggies is running out of gas.

I am one of those who when I am road tripping stop when my gauge is showing under 3/4 of a tank. Yea, I am weird but I hate running out of gas.

The southwest can have some expansive roads that are few and far between for gas stations.

Personally, I don’t carry spare fuel unless I am going backcountry and I can store the gas cans on the outside of my vehicle. Therefore, I try to plan very well by knowing where the best gas stations are and taking advantage of them when I can.


Be sure to download your maps for offline usage or they may not be available as some places have zero cell phone service.

I still carry those big red Rand McNally and Benchmark state map books in my vehicle that most local Costco’s have (or you can order from Amazon).

Click here to view state map options.


When I am in a driving groove, I hate to stop for food. So, I take a lot of different snacks that are easy to open and easy to eat. Ideally, pack foods that don’t need a refrigerator but with that said one of my favorite snacks to pack is cheese and crackers.

I also keep a case of water in my car almost all of the time.


10 Essentials - Tools

I am one of those who even if I am not road tripping, keep most of these items in my vehicle (one time I was cleaning it out and noticed I had over 6 knives sprinkled in various places!)

Some items may be listed more than once since your road trip may need everything or just a portion.

Low Air Pressure and Flat Tires

Nothing sucks more on a road trip than a flat tire (well, there are a few other things but it’s up there!). Below are the recommended items to keep in your car at all times in case of low air pressure or a flat tire.

  • Air compressor
  • Ground mat
  • Jack and tire iron
  • Reflectors
  • Road flares
  • Sealant in a can
  • Tire keys
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Work gloves

Road Trip Safety

Stuck in the Mud or Sand

  • Air compressor
  • Hand wench
  • Self-rescue bag (containing the items mentioned here)
  • Tire deflators
  • Tow strap
  • Traction mats
  • Work gloves

Clean Up

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet tissue
  • Wipes and paper towels
  • Garbage bags


  • Bug spray (depending on your area)
  • Bear spray (depending on your area) 
  • Blankets
  • Download movies or TV shows
  • Extra clothes that are easily accessible (especially true if your car is packed to the top and getting something easily may be difficult)
  • Hands-free phone mount
  • Pillow
  • Umbrella

Other Recommended Items

  • Auto tools
  • Cell phone charging cord
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight
  • Knife
  • Matches and/or lighter
  • Paper money and coins (most air pumps at the gas stations take cards these days but older ones still may be on the old quarter system to pay and are good for areas with tolls)
  • Portable power bank

Long lonely scenic road in the desert southwest of Utah

Road Trip Safety