If you spend much time in your car—whether it be commuting to work, running the kids to lessons, or going on road trips—you know the importance of making it as comfortable as possible. Fortunately, there are lots of little ways to do that—and many of them don’t cost much. We asked a panel of drivers to share their favorite hacks for improving the quality of time spent in the car. Here’s what they had to say.
One car hack that will make your car ride more enjoyable, at least in the winter, is keeping a bag of sand in your trunk. If your vehicle’s ever stuck in the snow, laying some sand around the area can provide your vehicle with the traction it needs to get out of its spot. However, if sand isn’t enough to get you out, you can also use kitty litter, as it can be used as an ice melter.
• Use a shower caddy to organize snacks for the drive. Your food will stay contained, but you’ll be able to see your available options easily.
• Glue a cotton ball to a clothespin and clip the clothespin to your air vents. Add a couple of drops of essential oil and the air will spread the scent through your car so you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils.
• For road trips with kids, attach a shoe organizer to the back of the seat in front of each child and fill the compartments with items that will keep them occupied during the trip. A road trip with happy and occupied kids is a big win.
• As basic as it sounds, cleaning your car before your trip can make your drive so much more enjoyable! First of all, you’ll know where everything is. Second, you won’t have to dig through trash when you drop your phone on the floor. And third, there won’t be any old food left to stink things up.
Try maps instead of navigation
On a recent holiday to France with my family, we rented a car, picked it up at the airport, popped in the destination on the nav and spent the next 3 hours blindly following an ‘Alexa-like’ voice telling me which way to go.
This really took me back to a road trip with my wife around a very similar part of France. Long before sat-nav or data roaming on Google maps was a given… we used maps! My wife was a terrible map reader, but when the time wasn’t an issue (I concede if heading back to the airport to catch a flight, getting lost is pretty low down on your list of priorities!), driving on familiar roads was so much more enjoyable without navigation.
You take so much more in and are much more alert to signs and roads enabling you to enjoy (hopefully!) the culture and surroundings far more than just staring at a screen on the dash and listening to directions/commands from a piece of tech.
I am not for a second suggesting that sat-nav doesn’t have its place or is a bad thing; however, it’s remarkably refreshing to find your own way. Plan a route before you head off, perhaps jot down some notes/routes/destinations to head for, and of course, take a map. The good news is that [the map] is always there to fall back on if you really do get lost, but I think so many people would enjoy driving more if they ditched the sat-nav for a road trip, or just getting around town!
Before I found a mount for my phone that actually worked (a lot of them either weren’t strong enough or didn’t fit my phone), I used to use two rubber bands twined through the right driver’s side vent. Pull one through the top and one through the bottom, then loop both around your phone. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing thing, but it’s surprisingly sturdy and still frees up the touch screen.
In my first car, I also used dryer sheets instead of an air freshener. I kept an open pack in the trunk and one behind the passenger seat. They don’t last forever, and the nicer air fresheners that attach to the vent do a better job circulating the scent, but they’re a lot better than the gas station air fresheners ever were.
One weird car hack that makes your drive more enjoyable is to use a lighter plug in your USB adapter. This gives you an additional charging port, so anyone in the backseat can charge their phone at the same time you are, and it makes you worry less about running out of any of your technology batteries while on the road.
Get a reverse camera. It doesn’t have to be a big, fancy reverse camera- just grab one that works. It makes backing up easier, and it prevents accidents. Cars have massive blind spots, and you need all the visibility you can get.
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