High Performance Mechanic
Image via Flickr by MattysFlicks

Planning a Texas road trip? If so, it’s helping to consider the Texas driving experience before setting out. Driving through Texas can be a bit different than driving through other states for a variety of reasons: it’s a huge place, of course, and it can be rather hot and fairly desolate, depending on your route. So before you hit road, it’s worth your while to hit the books, so to speak, and absorb some of these tips for Texas driving.

A High-Performance Machine

Before a long Texas drive, baby your vehicle like a newborn. Check the for the most common problems that might leave you stranded beside the highway, or with your car making an unforeseen and pricey tow-truck trip to a mechanic.

The first thing to consider is the condition of your tires. They’re the most likely thing to give you problems on a road trip, and the simplest thing you can do is make sure they’re inflated to the proper PSI value. (This PSI value and the type of stock tires on your vehicle can usually be found on a sticker along the inside of the door frame.) Even better, this website shows you where you can find free air pumps around the country, in case your tires get a bit low mid-trip.

The next thing to consider is your cooling system. Traveling hundreds of miles through the Texas summer without a working air conditioner is not likely to produce good vibes. Before setting out, have your mechanic check your cooling system for cracked or leaky hoses, and consider getting a coolant exchange or flush.

And of course, make sure your vehicle’s fluids are ready to go: oil, transmission, and radiator fluids should all be full and fresh enough to minimize any potential engine problems.

The Long Road

Texas is big, and long hauls should be expected. If possible, drive with a partner who can take over when you get tired. Alternatively, considering bringing something that will engage your mind as you drive, without being unncessarily distraction. For example, audio books and all-audio foreign language programs can make excellent road trip companions, especially through desolate desert Texas roads.

Seeing Texas Landmarks

Planning your route with roadside attractions you’d like to visit can also help improve a long Texas drive. Not surprisingly, a state as big as Texas is home to many, many roadside attractions that can make your drive much more interesting. It’s said that “everything’s bigger in Texas,” and it won’t surprise you that many such roadside attractions take the form of giant boots, giant cowboys, giant insects, and so on.

Speed Limits

Some practical driving information about Texas is also called for here: the state speed limit is 70 mph, though certain stretches of highway have been assigned speed limits as high as 85 mph. Additionally, red light cameras are legal in Texas and can be found in many municipalities. If you run (or “roll”) a red light that is monitored by one of these cameras, you may be on the hook for fines around $75, though in recent years many municipalities have stopped agressively enforcing red light camera tickets.

4 Helpful Driving Tips for Your Next Road Trip Through Texas

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