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The Importance of Checking Your GPS Setting

Posted in driving tips, road trip, travel tips, travel woes
on June 22, 2017

Hubby and I, along with my best buddy, went on a road trip from Virginia to New York City. What was supposed to be just 4-5 hours drive (with very few and short pit stops in between) turned into more than 7 hours drive through Pennsylvania! And yes, we had our GPS. It was working perfectly. Hubby charged it before leaving Virginia. Hubby even made sure the address of our destination is entered correctly. You might ask, how did it take around 7 hours to reach New York City? The answer is this, we did not double check the “filters” in the setting.


So, the GPS pointed us away from major interstates and tollgates as per the filter that we missed before leaving Tysons Corner in Virginia. We were supposed to take the public bus but decided to just drop the rental car top New York near Battery Park.

We were really puzzled to see the time to destination to read as 23:00 and that is 11 pm! So, we went to a small gasoline station and I asked the attendant inside how far we were to New York City. Well, let’s just say that the “deer-on-headlights” look assured us we were too far.

(I remember passing through these towns in Pennsylvania. We really took a circuitous route!)


We passed by back alleys, beautiful, undulating roads lined with trees. We even saw Amish people in their carriage! And that was a first for all of us. So, the 4-5 hours drive to NYC took us longer than usual. Good thing, I asked because we knew we were really getting lost. It was already 10:30 a.m and we were still inside Pennsylvania. I can’t remember the names of the towns anymore but I do remember passing through Hershey.


Finally, after traversing many back roads and finding out way back to the hi-way by 11:00 a.m., we were already heading to New Jersey on our way to New York City.


We reached the Holland Tunnel in New Jersey past past 1:00 p.m.  We were on the road for almost 8 hours! If we had taken the fastest route (and if we had checked the settings before leaving Tysons Corner), we could have been in NYC hours earlier.

(This is just an illustration. The ideal route that we should have set should look like this.)

Remember, if you are taking a road trip in the US or anywhere in the world, please always do the following to ensure you arrive on time.

  1. Put the correct address of your destination
  2. Ensure your GPS is well charged and plugged properly
  3. Ensure the GPS system is updated
  4. Check the preference before going on the road like click on the fastest route even if that means you had to pass through several toll gates


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American Road Trip 101: Forget Route 66!



‘What do you mean forget about Route 66? That’s the main reason to go to the US!’

No one is saying that the quintessential American road trip isn’t a whole lot of fun. It is, and that is why hoards of people flock there on a yearly basis. However, it’s also worth noting that Route 66 isn’t the be all and end all of hitting the open road in America.

In my view, forgetting about the fabled Route altogether is one of the best tips any novice can hear. Don’t believe me? Okay then, just take a look at the following.


It Doesn’t Exist

Back in the day, the signs for this legendary trip used to be ubiquitous, but now they are conspicuous in their absence. If you aren’t up on your American geography, you may not know that this Route barely exists any longer. Thanks to a mixture of tourism and local authorities not wanting to make repairs, the roads are almost unusable. Most tourist guides will tell you to stay clear of the route wherever possible because it is stressful and dangerous. Plus, you’re more likely to spend time off the route than you are on it, so you may as well give it a wide berth.


Misses The Best Places

When you think of the USA, places like New York and L.A spring to mind. Anyone that has visited the country will tell you that these aren’t the best places. Okay, NYC is unbelievable, but Los Angeles is pretty run down. Quite simply, the places you want to see, like New Orleans, are literally miles away from Route 66. If you want to prepare for mardi gras in the Holiday Inn New Orleans West Bank Tower then you need a different plan. The same goes for Oregon and Florida, and a host of awesome sights and attractions.


Better Routes Are Available

Although Route 66 is world famous, not many people know about the Blue Ridge Pathway in the Appalachian mountain range. And, the Pacific Coast Highway is also another unknown quantity. However, if you ask people who have done all three, they will say Route 66 pales in comparison. The sights, sounds and overall beauty of the Pacific Coast are almost impossible to find anywhere else. And, taking in the culture of life in the mountains is a one-time thing. These are only two alternatives, yet there are more which give 66 a run for its money.


Too Long

Driving across the US is a nice thought, but it’s too much hassle in reality. The trip alone will take you up to a month if you do it properly, and the boredom soon sets in. Plus, there is the money factor because America is not a country where you get a lot of bang for your buck. In truth, it’s more exciting and cheaper to spend less time on shorter routes and fly to the destinations you miss.

Yes, it’s not as romantic. But, neither is staying Bates Motel style accommodation in the middle of nowhere!



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Driving Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

Posted in driving tips, lifestyle, safety, teen drivers
on April 8, 2017

Teen Drivers: One of the Most Dangerous Times of their Lives

One of the markers that confirm a teenager’s path to adulthood is almost complete is when they get their driver’s license and are able to head out onto the highway.

It is also a point in their life when they are most vulnerable and likely to be involved in an accident that is caused by lack of experience, irresponsible driving behavior, or both. Young drivers who are still inexperienced may be driving out of their adrenalin rush without being responsible and safe not only to themselves but to the other motorists and pedestrians.

This resource looks at the statistics relating to teen drivers and offers some useful insights and tips aimed at teens and their parents that could help them to stay safer behind the wheel. And here are some tips to help young teens who are just starting to get behind the wheel and still building up their confidence in driving.

Drive with an adult supervision
For the young teen driver, this may defeat the purpose of having a driver’s license when you cannot drive on your own yet. The adult supervision is only temporary until such time that the young teen is ready to drive more responsibly and maturely on his own.
Avoid distractions
Having a license is not a go-signal for the young driver to be multi-tasking and getting distracted on the road while driving. Avoid checking the mobile phone, talking or texting, or even chatting with your passengers. The primary responsibility of the teen driver is to be safe to himself and to other motorists and pedestrians. There is no room for getting distracted with trivial things. It pays to be alert at all times. 
Buckle up
This is the universal rule for drivers and driving in general. Whether you are already an experience young driver or just starting out, no one is exempted to this rule. Everyone needs to wear their seat belts while inside the vehicle and under no circumstance that this should be disregarded for everyone’s safety.
Do not speed up
Follow the speed rules on the road. The license is not to be used to drive a fast car much as a teen’s adrenalin calls for it.  It is advisable for the adults to set example so that the young driver will pick it up and practice himself.
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