Preparing For Your Long Driving Distances
Before driving long distances, carefully check the following items on our trip maintenance checklist:
First Aid & Wellness - Keep an Emergency Road kit in the glove compartment or console. Be prepared with:
How to Drive Long Distance: Tips for Driving Long Distance
Plan ahead: Know where you are going. This will ensure your drive is relaxing and enjoyable. Plan your route, and the roads you are going to take, using GPS, a map or atlas. Also know where you will be able to stop for fuel, food, and safe resting spots along the way. Ensure the route you are planning to take is indeed drivable and in good condition. You should also look at the weather reports for the areas you’ll be driving, so you know what to expect on the road. For added safety, stay in touch with someone at your destination throughout your journey, so that they know where you are always. Make sure your car is fueled, checked, and ready to go, in advance.
Sleep the night before you leave: Fatigue on the open road is dangerous, so make sure you get a good night’s rest before you leave. If you’re leaving early in the morning, ensure you go to bed earlier than usual to get enough sleep before your journey. Do not consume alcohol or any other intoxicants the day before you leave.
Share the drive: If you can share the driving with someone else, you’ll be less likely to get tired behind the wheel. It is recommended that you do not drive more than a total of ten hours in one day.
Allow enough travel time: You’re in travel mode, so what’s the point of rushing? Plan your trip properly and allow plenty of time for the drive as well as rest stops and refueling. You’ll also enjoy a more relaxing drive if you don’t need to rush to your destination.
Don’t rely solely on cruise control: Cruise control can make a long trip a lot more bearable, although lack of driver involvement may lead to laziness and a loss of concentration behind the wheel. If you have cruise control, use it for short periods only.
Plan Pitstops: Breaking up the drive and staying in the moment ups the odds of driving safely. Find attractions along the route that are fun. Look for historical sites, museums, roadside attractions, landmarks, or awesome food stops. Leave room for people to have extra stops and improvise destinations. You never know what you'll discover. Remember, you'll also have plenty of on-the-way stops for bathrooms and necessities.
Eat light and stay hydrated: Heavy meals or fast food, aren’t a good idea in the car. They’ll leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Eat snacks and small portions of healthy food at regular intervals. Drink water to keep you hydrated.
Fresh air is a must: Even though your car might have air conditioning, fresh air is essential to keep you alert. Open the windows intermittently to let fresh air into the car.
Rotate drivers: Break up the driving so that each driver can rest. However, don’t over-rely on taking turns. You still need to make stops, rest, and avoid marathon drives whenever possible.
Stay Ahead of the Weather: Some states in the North, the desert and mountains ranges can get very cold, particularly in the evening. You will want to pack a warm blanket, sweatshirts, hand warmers, and spare socks. You will also want to be certain your vehicles battery is in good working order. In the South, your emergency kit should include sunscreen, hats, and extra water to keep you cool and protect in the hot summer months. Ensuring your vehicles coolant system is prepared for the journey, is an essential part of your pre-trip planning.
Obey the rules of the road: Driving requires your full attention, especially so when driving long distances. Don’t be distracted by cellphones, rowdy children in the backseat or eating while you are driving. It's important, obey the speed limit, and ensure everyone in the car is buckled up properly. Finally, be courteous and considerate to other drivers and enjoy the trip.
Dress for comfort in the car: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes especially and take a pillow if your back tends to ache when you’re behind the wheel for an extended period of time. Be sure to apply sunblock before you leave and re-apply every two hours, especially on your drivers side arm, and side of the face. Driving during the day means your arms or legs are exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time, and as much as you may not feel the sun on your skin through the windows, especially if they are tinted, you still run the risk of sunburn.
Take a break every two hours or 150 miles: Taking a break from driving every two hours or 150 miles is recommended for a long-distance trip. Stop to fill up, grab a bite to eat, use the bathroom or simply to stretch your legs. Taking a break will give you a boost until the next stop.
Watch your gas: Unlike highly populated areas, there are many areas of the country that are remote and gas stations could be as far as 100 miles in between. Know the road ahead, and always be prepared to know where your next gas station lies.
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