How to Have the Worst Road Trip Ever

Over the years, many people have asked me about vehicle preparation and motoring tips for summer vacation. Most mechanical breakdowns are preventable, as are many accidents.

So, if you want to have a really horrible road trip, follow this list. The chance of having a fun, safe and uneventful driving experience will decrease with the more you follow.

Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

1. Ignore any and all warning signs of impending doom
Do dogs bark at your vehicle and small children run for cover when you drive past? If it sounds like there is a symphony of crickets playing under the hood of your car, pretend you don’t notice. It must be the car behind you.

2. Wiper Blades
Forget about them. The blades worked pretty well in the winter to scrape the frost and ice off the windshield, and many locations are experiencing a drought this year. The chances of actually having to turn the wipers on are remote. New blades are expensive, and you can see out of half the windshield anyway.

3. Exhaust system
Why bother with a big stereo system when you can draw attention to yourself with a noisy exhaust? The sparks will only last for a few kilometres once the muffler drops down and hits the road.

That in itself is sure to bring waves of encouragement and cheers of excitement from fellow motorists. Perhaps you will get lucky and the muffler will fall right off.

4. Maintenance items
That amber “Check Engine” light is only amber, after all. The problem can’t be that serious, as the engine still runs on five out of six cylinders. There must still be some oil in the engine as the red oil pressure light hasn’t come on yet. Cooling systems only fail during expensive TV ad campaigns by antifreeze manufacturing companies.

5. Air conditioning
Don’t get its performance checked before hitting the open road. There is nothing like the wind in your hair and the thunderous sound of air movement at highway speeds to put you in the holiday mood. In the back seat, the kids will and appreciate that kind of airflow.

6. Tires
They are round and black. What else is there to know? Tire pressure gauges are for wimps. Cracks in the tread and sidewalls? I’m sure they are minor. The car is equipped with a spare if something happens. Haven’t checked the pressure in the spare for a decade? No worries, it is probably OK.

7. Drive aggressively
You want and deserve the best camping spots. Speed limits are only suggestions for poor drivers. There is no penalty in fuel consumption for going faster. Gasoline is cheap these days, and oil supplies unlimited. Might as well forget about using the turn signals too, as that would give away your strategy to other motorists. Keep them guessing.

8. Towing
Find the biggest trailer you can afford, and pull it with your half-ton truck! Old Betsy is tough: you’ve pulled a few tree stumps out with her, and she was top of the line in 1990. If you have run out of space in the truck, might as well pack some more stuff into the trailer. Load all heavy items at the rear of the truck and in the front of the trailer to obtain that “Going on Vacation” look.

Take absolutely everything that you could possibly ever need. Ensure the resulting tow vehicle and trailer combination looks like a shallow “V” from the side.

This configuration will yield ultimate handling and braking capabilities. Like speed limits, Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings are only suggested limits by the manufacturer. Remember, there won’t be any change in the way the vehicle handles or stops. Better yet, speed while towing.

9. Stick your feet out the window
If you are the lucky one not driving, unbuckle your seatbelt and relax. Everyone loves a little cool breeze over their feet. Others with less flexibility will be envious, and will most likely give a hand gesture to show approval.

10. Read while driving
Let’s be honest. Driving through the prairies can be pretty boring. It’s all flat and straight anyway, so why not catch up on that novel you’ve wanted to read?

Most airbags in the centre of the steering wheel will provide a nice flat surface for the book, and you can still turn the wheel if necessary!

Tolstoy’s War and Peace could ease the pain of a prairie journey or provide entertainment while recovering in post-op.