Ten Tips for Long-Distance Driving August 2nd, 2011
Summer is in full swing and cars are hitting the roads for vacation destinations. Before you hop in the car to zoom off to your getaway, take note of our suggestions for a safe and fun drive.
Check the vehicle.
Prior to the trip, make sure to get a vehicle maintenance check for factors including tire tread depth, tire pressures and engine & brake oil condition. Check your lights, signals, wiper blades, horn and radio. Also check to see, if the spare tire is usable. Bring a solution like Rain-X (glass treatment) for optimal visibility in case of rain.
Prepare an emergency kit.
Related to the maintenance check, pack an emergency kit. A basic kit should include the car manual, a flashlight, extra batteries, a reflective triangle (in case you need to pull over), flares, basic tools and a first aid kit. Other items such as waterproof matches, a whistle, a blanket, a jumper cable, rope, cutting device and duct tape could be included.
Get a good night sleep.
Before heading out for the road, make sure to get full night’s rest. If you set off tired, it’s likely that you’ll feel fatigued throughout your trip.
Secure the luggage and cargo.
The word “vacation” may be synonymous with “luggage.” When loading the luggage, make sure to have your items well placed, so that they don’t move around during quick stops or turns.
Pack car-friendly items.
It’s helpful to bring wet wipes and to have easy-to-access trash bags in the car. Make your driving experience as comfortable and safe as possible. Remember to pack a hands-free device for your mobile phone to prevent distracted driving. According to research by Carnegie Mellon University, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. Another car-friendly item is bed sheets or thin blankets to place over the car seats if the vehicle is going to be left in the sun for a while. Also, don’t forget to pack medicine if you or your passengers are prone to motion sickness.
Take some snacks for the road. A cooler filled with water and homemade snacks is a good idea for those who aren’t huge fans of convenience store food. However, avoid anything that has excessive sugar or salt. These foods can lead to changes in mood and energy. Eating heavy meals will bring your blood sugar down and make you feel tired. Try snacks like dried fruit or trail mix, which are easy to eat and store and are light on the sugar and salt.
Take a break if feeling tired or sleepy. Taking even a five minute break to stretch your legs can make a big difference. As a general rule, stop at least once every two hours for a break.
Bring your favorite music.
Radio stations will vary by region and may not always be able to offer what you want. By preparing music, you don’t have to worry about fiddling around with the radio while you are driving. Upbeat music is best for helping to stay awake and energized while driving.
Research the route.
Check for local events and landmarks along your route that you may want to stop and see. Make your schedule flexible to allow for time to see extra sights. This also includes scoping out spots that have heavy traffic. Jot down the traffic stations along your route to get traffic news in real-time. Find out where and when to avoid certain areas, because nothing ruins a road trip like a traffic jam.
With tips 1-9 taken care of, you can relax and enjoy the ride!