Road Trip

Here's how to research the perfect road trip

Make sure you pick the right vehicle. The one shown here is the one millionth Porsche 911 that was produced.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The United States is opening back up for businesses. You might not want to hop on a plane anytime soon, but you can't kick the feeling that you want to get away. Enter: the road trip.

In a recent interview with Porsche, Stefan Bogner, creative director, Curves magazine, divulged his tips for preparing the perfect road trip as part of the #GetCreativeWithPorsche series. Here are some of Bogner's top tips, paired with insight from the AutomotiveMap team.

Take your time.

It's never too early to start planning, even if you're just looking.

"The most important thing is to take your time," said Bogner. "If you were planning a month-long holiday, you'd take a long time getting it all just right. It's the same with a road trip: preparation is key."

Use a variety of sources to gather information.

Porsche maps display office research

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Don't just rely on sites like TripAdvisor. Hotels.com, or Yelp to shape your itinerary. Use them as a starting point. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Read blogs, check out the visitors and convention bureau website, and browse local publications for insights on local flavor.

Brush up on how to read a map.

"I am old-school and I love to study paper maps and guide books," shared Bogner. "Get to grips with reading a map and you'll get a better sense of place and perspective."

If you're someone who gets lost even when looking at the "downtown area" handout hotels give out, perhaps it's time to invest a few hours in honing your skills.

Don't forget to check the weather.

Check out predicted weather when you begin planning and keep an eye on it in the weeks and days leading up to the trip. If you've had a particularly wet spell, some roads may not be passable, nature preserves may be closed, and low-lying areas may be impassible. Consider getting a professional-grade weather app for your phone.

If your road trip includes going off-road (or even on the road less traveled), learn to read basic topographic maps.

Porsche maps

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Bogner explains: "Look for the green roads, as these are the scenic ones, and pay attention to the contour lines to get an idea of the topography. When you really study a physical map, the brain starts to absorb the information and when you come to drive a route, you'll know much better where you are."

Timing is everything.

"My one timing rule is to avoid school holidays," said Bogner in the interview. "I never go anywhere in July and August. Don't be afraid to ask the locals the best time of year to visit their area, as no one will know the answer better than them. I was once planning a trip to Scotland and thought the summer would be the perfect time to go but a friend advised me to wait until October. I had the most amazing two weeks of sunshine with no rain. In Scotland!"

Time of day is important too. Try for a mid-week visit to a popular museum, late afternoon visit to a park, a morning walk along the waterway to watch the sunrise. Don't be afraid to contact an attraction and ask when their least busy times are and find out when school groups tend to arrive.

Plan for hours and miles.

Bogner says it best, "Have a rough idea of how far you want to drive each day but make sure you give yourself time to enjoy the trip, rather than running a tight schedule and insisting on being in a certain place by a precise time. Savour the scenery and enjoy the driving. If you take your time and you're open to conversations when you fill up with fuel you'll meet interesting people along the way."

Use social media to find out what to expect.

Want to visit a museum or park? Don't just look at the sanitized version that their PR team puts out on social media. Many social media platforms allow users to tag themselves as being at a location. Click on those tags and find out more about what you can expect.

See if a driving tour is offered.

Porsche 911 Maria, Texas

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Many localities offer a driving tour of their local attractions, countryside, etc. Want to discover local agriculture? Plan a wine tasting spree? See a series of historical sites? Just want to go for a drive? There is probably a map for that. Local motorcycle enthusiasts often chart their drives on MotorcycleRoads.com, which can be used as a resource as well.

Ask for recommendations once you arrive.

‚Äč"Local contacts can also suggest their favorite museums (I have discovered some amazing private air museums in America this way) and restaurants," Bogner said. "I am a real foodie so I enjoy researching amazing places to eat."

Be sure to ask locals for restaurant recommendations, and not just he concierge staff at the hotel. When you ask, find out what dishes they recommend. If you do stay in a hotel with a concierge, ask them if there anything you need to know when making a reservation. Sometimes, they have line-skipping tricks up their sleeve.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

V2V communication allows vehicles to connect to each other.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

You might not have gotten in an accident if you know the road ahead of you was covered with ice. You may have known that the road was covered with ice if that digital sign you pass on the highway had a message announcing slippery conditions ahead.

A new partnership between Volvo and Waycare Technologies will enable data from Volvo's Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert to be anonymously shared with transportation municipalities and Waze.

Starting with 2021 model year vehicles, Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert will allow certain Volvo cars to communicate with each other. The models will be able to automatically alert other Volvo drivers via a cloud-based network when the vehicle's hazard lights are turned on or low friction is detected, and the system is properly connected to the internet.

Volvo Waycare Technologies Waze safety communication Information sharing between cars can give a driver more knowledge about the unknowns of the roadway ahead.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

This isn't the first time the system has been implemented. It was introduced in 2016 on 90 Series cars in Sweden and Norway.

Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert now come as standard equipment on all model year 2021 Volvo cars sold in the U.S. Owners will be able to choose to activate the features via the car's infotainment screen and can opt-out/deactivate them at any time.

In addition to road conditions, the Daycare partnership allows Volvos to share data with other sources including city infrastructure, telematics, and weather forecasts.

Behind the scenes, Waycare will then use artificial intelligence to synthesize the data and provide operational insights local U.S. transportation industries (think: New York State Thruway Authority, your local public works department, and the Michigan State Police). Using the information, agencies can choose to push notifications to drivers using the 5-1-1 system, social media, or a series of road sign alerts.

"Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents," said Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Center. "Volvo owners directly contribute to making roads safer for other drivers that enable the feature, while they also benefit from early warnings to potentially dangerous conditions ahead."

Connected safety data-sharing between Volvo cars is available throughout the U.S. Connected safety data sharing with Waycare and its partners is currently available at locations where Waycare has their traffic Management Platform including Nevada, Central Ohio, Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, San Francisco/Bay Area, and western Florida. Waycare has plans to expand to other areas in the future.

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The 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport features dynamic all-terrain technology.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

A new lawsuit by Jaguar and Land Rover's parent company, Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc (JLR), filed a lawsuit on Thursday to block the import of new Porsche, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, and Audi vehicles from entering the U.S. The news was reported by Bloomberg.

In its filing with the U.S. International Trade Commission, JLR says that the companies, all under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, are using JLR's patented Terrain Response technology without permission. The technology, which helps vehicles traverse a "broad range of surfaces" is used in a number of vehicles in the JLR lineup including the Jaguar F-Pace and Land Rover Discovery. Those two SUV recently debuted refreshed versions for the 2021 model year.

2021 Jaguar E-Pace Jaguar recently debuted the revised 2021 E-Pace (above) and F-Pace. Photo courtesy of Jaguar

In the filing, JLR specifies that it is looking to block the import of the Porsche Cayenne; Lamborghini Urus; and a host of Audi vehicles including the Q8, Q7, Q5, A6 Allroad, and E-Tron; in addition to the Volkswagen Tiguan. In its complaint, the company says that there are enough vehicles to meet customer demand in the U.S. other than those named in the papers.

In addition to its complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC), JLR has filed patent lawsuits in Delaware and New Jersey seeking cash compensation for the use of the technology. Traditionally, the ITC works faster than the courts in the investigation of unfair trade practices. ITC cannot award damages, but can block products from entering the U.S. Bloomberg says that ITC investigations are typically completed in 15 to 18 months.

The case is In the Matter of Certain Vehicle Control Systems, 337-3508, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). The filing is marked as confidential. JLR is represented in the matter by Latham & Watkins LLP, an International firm that was founded in 1934.

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