While a lot can happen on a road trip that totals almost 2,500 miles, overall Route 66 is an extremely safe place to adventure. Much of the drive will take you through quaint, safe small towns, as the American Midwest is famed for its kind, helpful people. Additionally, although Route 66 is no longer one of America's preeminent travel routes, its roads are largely well maintained.
Driving Route 66 with a group during a time of the year with milder weather through the Fall Route 66 Tour will mitigate many of the other major possible risks.
At Route 66 Tours, your safety is a top priority. That being said, there are certainly some safety tips that you'll want to remember as you hit the wide-open road. Happy travels!
Practise driving, American style
Driving the roads of America can feel awkward initially and may take some time to get used to. Drivers stay to their right, rather than the left. For the safety of you, your other passengers and those around you, it's best to get a little practise in before taking to the mother road. Make sure to always stay alert when you're driving to ensure that you're not falling on old habits and driving on the left. The last thing you want is to get into an accident before your American adventure even begins.
For most people, a little bit of time is it all it takes to begin feeling like a natural. Route 66 Tours includes a practise day in Chicago to give you the time that you need to get acclimated to driving on the "wrong" side of the road.
Watch the gas tank
Route 66 contains many stretches of prairie and desert that are almost completely free of major development. Sometimes, many miles will pass between the nearest town or gas station. While the wide-open spaces of America are a big part of the thrill and beauty of the Route 66 experience, it also means that you can get yourself in some serious trouble if you run low on gas.
Especially when you are travelling in the desert, make sure to keep your tank as consistently close to full as possible. There's not always a guarantee of when the next station will come around.
Pay attention to directions
Travelling on historic Route 66 isn't like driving a larger interstate. It's a system of several smaller routes that all connect together. Unlike most highways, Route 66 doesn't bypass sights and small towns, giving you a full American experience. It also means you have to be a little more alert than you would, to ensure that you stay on the right road. While following the path isn't especially challenging, having a mapping app or other, similar tools to check your location will be helpful.
In addition to placing you with an experienced guide who knows the way well, Route 66 Tours provides each car with a UHF radio and GPS system to help with navigation, as well as a special Route 66 Guide Book and USA Road Atlas. The two books are yours to keep as a souvenir of your journey.
The old saying "safety in numbers" may apply here. Sticking close to other cars and following the suggested routes rather than branching out on your own will ensure that someone has an eye on you if you run into mechanical issues or similar kinds of problems. If you want to get off the beaten path, it may be wise to tell someone else what your plans are. If you can't get in with anyone from your travel group and find yourself in a serious situation, the phone number for American emergency services is 9-1-1.
Check the weather report
While travelling in seasons with milder average temperatures, like Fall and Spring, will help you to avoid the most extreme weather, it's always good to stay alert. Be sure to bring layers meant for conditions far warmer or colder than you are expecting out on the road. In the event of a heat wave, be sure to have plenty of water at the ready in your car.
Be aware of potential tornado conditions
Sometimes, checking the morning newspaper for the weather isn't quite enough. Route 66 is home to its share of unpredictable conditions. Freak occurrences like tornadoes happen more than you'd think, especially in the central part of the country that's nicknamed "Tornado Alley." Check local radio as you travel to see if they offer any insights.
In the United States, a tornado "watch" means that the weather conditions needed for a tornado are present, but a tornado has not. A "warning," by contrast, means the chances of a tornado forming are very high. Tornadoes typically only affect an area that ranges from 1 to 5 square miles, so checking local, rather than regional weather reports may be necessary to figure out if you're heading for a problem area. If you do find yourself in the path of a tornado, try to find a place to wait out the storm indoors.
Look out for ticks
While Route 66 Tours doesn't lead drivers too far into the wilderness, it's always good to check for ticks. No one wants to return from their incredible getaway to discover that they have Lyme Disease. Recognise the signs of a tick bite, including the notable 'bulls eye" look of the swelling around the bite.
Other wildlife to look out for on the mother road include snakes, deer, cattle, and spiders.
For many people, a Route 66 trip is the adventure of a lifetime. While sure to be full of thrills, a trip with Route 66 Tours is far from dangerous. Sticking to a few simple guidelines will help to bring the risk of health, weather or mechanical issues down even further. Get in touch today and see how we can make your American road trip dream a reality.