There’s something exciting about packing up your vehicle and preparing for a long drive. It’s you, your music, and the open road. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making the drive for leisure or for other purposes: it’s a great time to think big and take yourself out of the humdrum of the everyday. However, it would be wrong to suggest that a long drive is nothing but good times. There are dangers too. It’s always dangerous to get behind the wheel, but even more so when you’re going for a long journey. In this blog, we’ll take a look at some essential tips for staying safe when you have a six-plus-hour drive ahead of you.
Check The Vehicle
Your car might be able to handle a short journey to the store just fine, but how will it handle being on the road for many hours at a time? Don’t just assume that it’ll handle the pressure well. Before you set off, look at having your vehicle seen by a professional, who will be able to identify anything that might cause you problems. This is especially important if you’re going to be driving in conditions that your car isn’t used to (such as high altitude).
It doesn’t matter whether you’re itching to get to your eventual destination or you’re in no rush whatsoever: it’s vitally important that you’re stopping regularly. Humans aren’t able to concentrate for hours at a time; after an hour or so, our attention spans begin to dip rapidly. A quick 5 – 10-minute break will give your mind a chance to rest, and you can also stretch your body. When you’re calculating your journey time, factor in these breaks, so that you’re not tempted to speed in order to make up time. It’s best to avoid caffeine during your breaks, however; while they give a boost in alertness, they also cause an energy slump afterward.
Dangers on the Road
You may have confidence in your own driving skills, but let’s not forget that you’re not going to be the only person on the road. Other drivers pose as much a risk to your wellbeing on the roads as you do, so it’s important that you’re keeping your eye on what other drivers are doing, and keeping a healthy distance if you see someone driving dangerously. Pay particular attention to trucks, which have been responsible for some 4,000 accident fatalities in recent years. You’ll also find that some people drive quicker than you because they’re more familiar with the terrain (particularly in rural areas). Let them do their thing, and go at a speed that you feel comfortable with.
When to Stop
If you’re beginning to feel tired, then look at pulling over for the night. Tiredness is one of the main causes of accidents, and your slump in energy and fading light can make for a dangerous combination. It’ll be much better to stay in a motel or hotel for the night, and continue the journey in the morning.