Long-distance driving is sometimes unavoidable. However, how can you ensure you’re safely driving your route from start to finish? We share some safety tips for the next time you have to hit the wide-open road.
The Dangers of Long Drives
There are several dangers to a long drive, some of which include:
- Being unfamiliar with specific roads and possible detours in an area.
- Having to drive in different conditions than what you’re used to, such as dirt roads, mountain passes or extreme weather conditions.
- Encountering animals on the road in more rural areas, especially at night.
- Considering extra baggage or towing a trailer or caravan.
- Driving long distances with vulnerable passengers, such as children or people with medical conditions or suffering from motion sickness.
How Do You Stay Safe on a Long Drive: Safe Driving Tips
To avoid driving emergencies, follow these safe driving tips to be extra careful on the road.
1. Sleep Well the Night Before
How do I prepare my body for a long road trip? Well, safe driving starts with being well-prepared. Consider exhaustion before your road trip and not after. For the optimal focus on the road, you need about seven hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before your trip. Start a long drive in the morning after a good night’s sleep, not after a long, tiring work day. Also, note that the body’s temperature is naturally lower, which makes you more tired, from one to three in the afternoon.
2. Have a Co-Pilot
One of our top tips for driving long distances is to share the responsibility of driving with another capable driver. It’s a known fact that fatigue-related car accidents are more likely to occur when the driver is alone. Plan a schedule for when you need to switch drivers. Also, ensure that your insurance policy covers all drivers.
3. Stay in Control
Let’s talk about cruise control. Although this popular feature can make a long trip feel easier, the lack of driver involvement may lead to a loss of concentration. So, if you’re using cruise control, override it and use manual instead every now and again.
4. Fuel Your Body
Packing various nutritious snacks will allow you to skip those tempting fast-food stops. Ensure that your snacks are easy to eat while driving, and plan stops for larger, more elaborate meals. The foods you prepare should be healthy and wholesome, as sugary snacks only make you feel sluggish and sleepy. Interestingly enough, protein combats sleepiness, so stock up on some protein-rich goodies for your drive.
5. Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration will keep you energised throughout your road trip, combatting dry eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, and even double vision. By drinking lots of water, you’ll have to make frequent stops, making your trip even safer!
6. Plan Your Rest Stops
Is it safe to drive 10 hours straight? Probably not. Make sure to stretch your legs every two hours for optimal concentration while driving. Plan these stops ahead of time to include a few exciting destinations in your itinerary and keep your driving time to regular intervals.
7. Chew Gum
The repetitive nature of this process increases blood circulation and alertness while driving and will leave your breath smelling fresh.
8. Driving InSCENTive
Keeping some essential oil at hand during a long drive is always a good idea. When you need an energy boost, take a whiff to reduce fatigue and increase alertness.
9. Sit Up Straight
Adjust your seat correctly before starting your drive to maximise blood flow behind the steering wheel. Take deep breaths to scan your body for tension on the trip, and sit up straight when you start to feel sluggish.
10. Entertain Your Passengers
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to do anything out of the ordinary while driving. Instead, it means that, with proper planning, you can decrease the driver’s fatigue due to stress and bickering.
How do I survive a 10-hour drive? When you’re driving with kids, keeping them entertained will save you a lot of worries, freeing you up to stay focussed on the road — pack games and toys to keep them enthralled throughout the trip.
11. Listen to Audio Books
Audio books keep your brain active without creating a dangerous distraction. Choose humorous content to keep you awake and make the time fly!
12. Pack an Emergency Kit
Always pack a kit for emergencies. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A fully-stocked first aid kit
- A roadside safety kit including high-visibility vests and a reflective triangle
- A good quality torch
- A set of jump leads
- A spare tyre
- A tyre inflation kit
- A shovel
13. Document Your Trip
Although this isn’t a safety tip, we guarantee that documenting your road trip with your family and friends is a fun way to reminisce, as it can be easy to forget details after a long journey. Keep a journal, buy a souvenir from every interesting place you visit, take a video at each stop, and edit them together in a montage.
14. Always Maintain a Safe Following Distance
Some roads have loose, gravelly surfaces, which create dust clouds and decrease visibility. You also risk skidding and losing control of your car on gravel and dirt roads, as well as stones flying up and damaging the windscreen.
Follow the two-second rule on good quality bitumen roads and in good conditions. When the car ahead of you passes a landmark, like a big tree, you should pass that same landmark about two seconds after them.
When you’re driving on unsealed roads, and it’s dark, wet, hazy, or foggy outside, the cushion of space should be extended to at least four or five seconds. You should also give yourself some extra space if you tow a trailer or caravan.
How to Get Your Car Ready for a Road Trip
Save time, money and stress by ensuring that your vehicle is road trip ready before you leave your driveway. Here are a few things to consider before going on a long drive:
- Check all your fluid levels and top up where necessary
- Check your tyre pressure according to your vehicle’s manual
- Check tyre tread depth, referring to the owner’s manual for guidance
- Check that your windscreen wipers are in good condition
- Make sure all your lights work correctly
- Fill up your fuel tank before setting off
Who Can Help?
So, who can help you prepare for long drives? At Dean’s Autoglass, we encourage driving safely and help you to get your road trip car ready for the long drive. Contact us today for all your vehicle’s safety needs!