In 1903, Horatio Nelson Jackson bet a friend $50 that he could drive a motorcar across the country. Never mind that he didn't have maps, driving experience, or even a car. He and his co-driver, Sewall K. Crocker, drove in a two-cylinder car from San Francisco to New York City. They were the first to make an automotive cross-country trip in the United States. It took them merely two months, three days, twelve hours, and 30 minutes.The quirky buddy-cop duo didn't exactly have cruise control, satellite radio, or even a windshield. They didn't stop at Travelodges or snack on teriyaki-flavored beef jerky, either. Move ahead a century, give or take a decade or two, and the humble automobile has made quite a bit of progress. The modern cross-country road trip—a rite of passage in a nation as vast as ours—has become more comfortable, more enjoyable, and more fun. Even if there are still challenges, new technology for your road trip allows you to focus on your friends and your journey, not the problems you'll face. Here are six ways the classic road trip has evolved, thanks to tech. 1. You can go farther between fill-ups.One of the more colorful parts of an American road trip is the fly-by-night gasoline stop. There are scores them all across the country. What they never show in those classic road-trip movies is the participants constantly stopping to cram a small fortune in high-test fuel into the gaping belly of a 1964 Ford Galaxie. Our cars today are far more efficient, which means less time scrambling for a pump on desolate stretches of road. 2. Your car is a better travel companion.Even ten years ago, traveling back roads or climbing a grade along the Continental Divide could be a harrowing experience for your nerves—and your body. Improvements in suspension design, engine output, efficiency, and response mean that our touring cars no longer feel like boats or ride like buckboards. 3. You're safer too.Worse than creaking up that mountain pass is tiptoeing back down it, trying not to careen through a guardrail, with your fellow occupants getting woozy from the smell of roasting brake pads. Add in rain or snow, and it becomes a slog even the most adventurous have trouble enjoying. Our cars have had anti-lock brakes and traction control for years, sure, but now you can get a car with pre-collision detection, automatic high beams, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, dynamic radar cruise control, and even the ability to come to a complete stop automatically—good for dicey driving conditions, and helpful during (highly unrecommended) late-night drives when driver fatigue could be a problem. 4. You can listen to more stuff.Gone are the days of scratchy talk radio on a flickering AM band, long stretches of static, constantly reaching down to hit the Tune button, or, horror of horrors, having to make conversation with your fellow passengers. Such previously indispensable items as CD holders, cassette adapters, and auxiliary cables are no more now that there's satellite and HD Radio\u00b9 Technology; Internet radio, including apps such as Pandora\u00b2, Spotify, and iHeartRadio; and Bluetooth\u00b3 connectivity in the car. Add steering-wheel controls, voice commands, and touchscreens (Prius Prime has an available 11.6-inch HD multimedia display, in fact), and all that's left is to get your friends to hand over the control of what music you play. Some things don't change. 5. You can find out where you're going.There once was a time when your author drove halfway across Wyoming with his grumbling stomach in full revolt because he figured there had to be a better restaurant a bit farther down the road. That was before navigation was introduced in cars in the 1990s. With Internet connectivity, one can conceivably use the car's nav system to discover a cool restaurant on Yelp, place a reservation, plot a route, and dodge traffic or bad weather to get there. That is, if you're not distracted by any number of interesting roadside quirks that you'll also be able to find with hands-free Siri\u2074 integration—the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas is awfully tempting.6. You can be fashionable, futuristic, or retro.We've seen chrome give way to black plastic, then body-colored plastic. We've seen the return to retro. We've seen hybrid cars pack mega styling into small packages and often polarizing designs. Huge, lumbering station wagons gave way to huge, lumbering SUVs.But for Prius Prime, in this case, all-new styling really does mean that: Dramatic full-width taillights and an aggressive, peaked front end reinforce the notion that if you're gonna pack all this technology in your car, why make it look the same as anything else?\u00b9 HD Radio™ Technology manufactured under license from iBiquity Digital Corporation U.S. and Foreign Patents. HD Radio™ and the HD, HD Radio, and "Arc" logos are proprietary trademarks of iBiquity Digital Corp. \u00b2 PANDORA\u00ae, the PANDORA\u00ae logo, and the Pandora trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of Pandora Media, Inc., used with permission.\u00b3 The Bluetooth\u00ae word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Toyota is under license. A compatible Bluetooth\u00ae-enabled phone must first be paired. Phone performance depends on software, coverage and carrier. \u2074 Siri\u00ae is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.