Five things not to do on a road trip

You don’t get that many days of vacation. Here are five errors to avoid so you don’t spoil your holiday weekend.

Don’t let gas prices deter you

BURBANK, CALIF. - APR. 16, 2018 - Prices for gasoline are displayed on a pump at a Chevron station i
Gasoline prices are averaging $3.69 a gallon in California, but the cost of a road trip increases less than you might think.
(Jerome Adamstein / Los Angeles Times )

The California average for a gallon of gas, AAA tells us, is $3.69. That’s 71 cents a gallon more than a year ago. Cancel the trip?

Hold the phone. Let’s say your vehicle gets 35 mpg and you’re going to Utah’s Zion National Park, about 870 miles round trip from Los Angeles. You’d use about 25 gallons, paying about $92.


Last year would have been cheaper — by only about $20. You can easily save by packing a picnic lunch instead of stopping for fast food.

Don’t forget to pack smart

CleverMade SnapBasket Cooler has double carry straps and end handles for easier toting and hoisting.
A full, well-iced cooler should ride in the car.
(CleverMade )

Clothing counts, of course, but it’s not going to sicken you. Foods not properly stored will.

When you’re packing that lunch, use a cooler, especially if you’re packing foods made with mayonnaise (pasta or potato salad) or certain kinds of meats. The cooler needs to be 40 degrees or colder, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.


Put the frozen stuff in first, maybe starting with frozen bottles of water. Keep the cooler in the car, not trunk, and cover it with a blanket. If it’s full, it will stay cold longer.

Don’t drive drowsy

Da Mao, an adult male panda bear, sleeps as media photograph him at the Calgary Zoo during the openi
If you need a nap, do as our animals friends do and nap. But pull over. Da Mao, an adult male panda bear, sleeps as he’s photographed at the Calgary, Canada, Zoo during the opening of its giant panda habitat on May 7.
(Jeff McIntosh / Associated Press )

When you stop for that lunch, remember you may feel sleepy afterward. Take a break for a quick nap. Zion will still be there.

About 4% of drivers reported snoozing while cruising in the previous month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. And an astounding 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder, which is alarming because it makes you more likely to fall asleep.

It’s time for a nap if you’re yawning, blinking or forgetting where you’ve just been. Time to take a break.

Don’t go with the flow

LONG BEACH, CALIF. -- WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2018: A view of traffic on the 710 Freeway as viewed f
You may take a vacation; traffic doesn’t. Worst time to leave L.A. for Memorial Day? Between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. on May 25, AAA and Inrix say.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times )

Traffic doesn’t take a holiday. In fact, it’s worse on a holiday.

AAA and Inrix, which studies traffic and transportation (and last year rated Los Angeles the king of congestion) teamed up to bring you this bad news: If you’re in Los Angeles, don’t leave town between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. the Friday before Memorial Day.

If you do, be prepared to spend almost two times longer on the road.


Even if you’re not going anywhere, try not to be on the road at those times. Traffic doesn’t sort itself by travelers and commuters. And hey, the office will be quiet. Why not stick around and get stuff done while everyone else is trying to get out of Dodge?

Don’t fail to prepare the car

A tire rolls free during the IndyCar auto race Saturday, April 7, 2018, at Phoenix International Rac
Even pros can have tired trouble, including a tire that rolls free during the IndyCar auto race April 7, 2018, at Phoenix International Raceway. Besides making sure you have all of them, you need to check the pressure too.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press )

You’re supposed to check your tire pressure monthly. Right. But if you’re going on a car trip, that’s the most important thing you can do (other than making sure the stuff with mayo stays cold).

Incorrectly inflated tires don’t grip the road properly, and they monkey with your fuel economy. They also reduce the life of expectancy of the tires, and really, wouldn’t you rather spend the money you’d shell out for a new set of tires on another glorious road trip?

To see our how-to on inflating your tires, go to


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