Tips For Long Distance Drives

Summer is here! Bring on the sand, surf, and hours of driving on the motorway. Staying refreshed and sane while you drive is important for your comfort and, more crucially, safety. If you’re driving with kids in the back seat, and need some help keeping them calm then here are some tips and some games to play. Here are our best tips to stay safe on a long road trip:

Plot your course

Most people will simply pop their destination straight into their sat nav. On the whole this is a pretty bad idea if you have a run-of-the-mill sat nav, likelihood you’ll get stuck in heavy traffic or you may find you have to make hour long diversions to a service station. Be smarter, by planning the route to include service stations and fuel stations, where you’ll have a safe place to stretch, eat and use the toilet facilities. You may even plan your route to run by landmarks like Stonehenge. On the day you should also be aware of weather conditions and occasionally check traffic reports of the route, something quite easy to do with Google maps.

Get a good night’s sleep

Getting drowsy when driving can be very dangerous. 2 seconds asleep could have you move over 100 metres at high speed. Make sure you get proper sleep, and a strong cup of coffee to leave you energised to drive. Avoid alcohol or other depressant drugs which can leave you hungover or tired, as this will impact your reaction speeds.

Take regular breaks

The UK Government advise that you take a short 15 minute break every two hours of driving. This is especially important during the night, where your eyes are increasingly strained and the orange lights lull you to sleep.

A break may mean a quick stretch, bathroom stop, and a cup of coffee to keep you going. It’s important to stretch your legs, as you may find blood doesn’t flow very well whilst you’re parked in your seat.

Share the drive

Many drivers loathe this, especially with a new car, but sometimes you have to just do it for safety reasons. There are the times you have had maybe a tipple too much or are obviously drowsy when others aren’t. You may decide this before or mid way through your drive but it’s important you only drive for a maximum of 8 hours a day.

Give yourself time

Rushing not only is bad for your miles per gallon but can also cause a serious accident. Enjoy a slightly more relaxed drive at 50mph, where your engine works best. Leave time for service stations and other pit stops along the way. You’ll be sure to enjoy this drive more than a race to the finish.

Dress comfortably

Your clothes and shoes should be appropriate for the weather and the car. Shorts or skirts can leave bare flesh against leather seats which is very uncomfortable. A winter jacket can quickly leave you in puddles since cars heat up a lot faster than you think. You may even want to apply and reapply sunblock to your skin which is exposed to the sun. The front windscreen is usually not protected against UV rays, so make sure to get some good quality sunscreen!

Eat small but drink plenty (not alcohol!)

Heavy meals mean heavy trips to the toilet, and as you will know public toilets are never nice. Fast food can also upset your system, especially if the food comes from a side of the road seafood stand. Unfortunately, we do encourage you to drink plenty as this usually keeps you alert, and hydrated. The sun and the heat of the car can leave you a bit exhausted, this is usually due to dehydration. It may mean you’ll have to visit the service station toilets a bit more often, sorry ladies.

Crank up the AC or crack open a window

Fresh air is essential to staying awake and alert. It may even protect you from a faulty boot, which can leak exhaust fumes into the car. Fresh air also helps you feel refreshed, which helps to keeping you comfortable in the process.

Pack an emergency kit

Emergency kits are vital to any car journey. They don’t take up much room but can save lives or keep you on the road when you otherwise might have been taken off. They will usually contain:

• a first aid kit
• puncture repair kit
• some spare fuses and bulbs
• a foot pump
• a pressure gauge
• some engine oil
• some snack bars
• a bottle of water
• and some blankets for the winter

Keep yourself entertained

Long journeys can be tedious and a droning BBC Radio 4 might not help that. A novel solution to the car boredom is to get a lot of language learning audio or interactive audio books. These can be easily accessed online and plugged straight into your car for surround sound learning or adventure. It kills the time quite well whilst also being quite a pleasant and active experience. Ask Alexa to open the magic door, you might have a lot of fun.