28th June 2021

Remaining Safe & Environmentally Conscious On Your Family’s Next Road Trip

Does your family have any travel plans for the summer now that COVID-19 restrictions have begun to be lifted? If your family is planning traveling, it’s important to consider the best way to remain environmentally conscious throughout your travels, in addition to creating the most optimized travel plans. One of the largest hinderances on any family’s travel comes in the form of parking. Believe it or not, research has indicated that Americans spend nearly 17 hours a year searching for parking spots. If you plan on traveling to some of the nation’s hotspots, you can expect to spend even longer on average searching for parking. This time spent searching can truly hold your family back from getting the most out of your vacation. Not only can vacations be ruined, but vehicles and the surrounding environment can also be harmed in the process. Luckily for you and your family, there are a number of ways to get the most out of your fuel and decrease your carbon footprint whilst traveling. 

One of the first suggestions for families planning trips nearby is some form of ride sharing or public transportation. While this might not always be an option, or preference, it certainly is the best choice for decreasing your environmental impact. It may also limited the amount of space your family can cover in terms of travel destinations, so not always the best bet. Bus tours or train tours, for example, are a bit more flexible in what locations are able to be visited while still remaining environmentally sound. If your family is hoping to extend well past the boundaries of these offerings, it’s best to develop a carpooling strategy that will be able to include all members of the vacation and thus save on time and fuel. Ensuring your vehicles’ capabilities before these trips is always recommended. 

Throughout your family’s vacation, your vehicle(s) will likely experience some wear and tare. However, there are a number of ways to reduce the stress on the vehicle while traveling. First and foremost, air condition and heating. Though it may seem impossible to travel without, using the air conditioning or heating sparingly is very beneficial to your vehicle. If you’re traveling during the summer months, when bearable, elect to open the windows to circulate air rather than using the air conditioning. For families traveling through the winter months, instead of immediately blasting your vehicle’s heating element upon start up, allow your vehicle to gradually heat itself up before cranking up the heat. Next, and equally as important, consider the speeds at which you’re traveling. While driving at the highest speeds might reduce your travel time, it can certainly impact your vehicle’s condition. Maintaining speed limits is the best way to decrease carbon emissions and increase your vehicle’s expected mileage. 

Another way in which your vehicle is impacted through your family’s travels is through how often your vehicle is cycled on and off. Unnecessary amounts of carbon emissions are exposed as a result of turning the vehicle on and off too frequently. It’s understandable as your family is expected to have to stop for any number of reasons: bathroom breaks, gas stops, snack restocks, whatever the case might be. In these situations, turn off your vehicle rather than leaving it on if your break will extend past ten minutes in order to conserve fuel. 

Lastly, when considering parking spots throughout your trip, don’t be too picky. Most families will waste time looking for the most optimal parking spot, and this will wear down your vehicle compared to just selecting the first parking space available. Even if it requires a bit of extra walking, the first spot you see is the best choice within reason. Similarly, the way in which you park also impacts your vehicle. Requiring a two or three point turn in order to exit your parking space has much more of an impact on your vehicle compared to being able to just drive straight out of a parking spot. 

Author bio: Ian Todd is Director of Automated Parking Systems for Westfalia, a York, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer. Todd has more than 15 years of experience in automated parking systems in both Europe and the Americas, where he has held roles in product development, project management, marketing, and business development and sales.

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