Owning a car comes with a whole host of benefits, not least the fact that you can avoid regularly having to cram yourself on to a packed train or bus.
Although this benefit is clear and obvious on short-distance journeys, long-distance car travel does require a bit more thought and planning.
While hopping in and taking to the road for several hours might seem straightforward, these journeys come with their own set of road rules in order to keep you safe, well and on time. Below, we’ve highlighted some of our top tips for those embarking on a journey that involves long distance or cross-country driving.
Ensure you’re well rested
Before embarking on a long-distance drive, it’s important that you feel rested. You should aim to get at least seven hours of sleep for the two nights before you set off on your journey. This will ensure that you have enough energy to see you from A to B with ease, and will make it far less likely you’ll need to pull over en route.
While you’ve stocked up on your own body fuel through quality sleep, make sure you have enough fuel to power your motor before you set off.
It’s important that you check out how long you’ll be on the road and what fuel stops are on the way, particularly if you want or need to make it in good time. Also, research what the traffic is looking like on the day – after all, a jam could add several hours to your journey, equating to a lot more fuel used.
Plan your stops
Speaking of stops, you should map out service stations along the way, too. This will give you the opportunity to go to the bathroom, grab something to eat, and stretch your legs – something you’ll need to do if you’ve got your foot on the clutch for several hours at a time.
Make sure you research the stations available along the way, because the last thing you want is somewhere that lacks good food options or the facilities you’re looking for.
Sit up right
Slouching is something we can all be guilty of, but doing it on a long drive could prove to be troublesome.
As you don’t have the opportunity to get up and walk around as and when you please, you could end up sore from sitting in a less than ideal position by the time you reach your destination. You can prevent this by ensuring your chair is correctly adjusted, which will also help ensure maximum blood flow and stop you from getting as numb and sore.
Keep yourself entertained (but still focussed on the road)
This may sound obvious, but sometimes the radio just won’t cut it. Before you set off, make yourself some playlists on Spotify or Apple Music, ensuring they’re all downloaded so you can play them offline – otherwise losing mobile data signal will cause problems just as losing radio signal might. You could also download some audiobooks or podcasts if you’re travelling on a long journey by yourself.
However, although entertaining yourself is important, especially if you’re alone in the car, you need to make sure you’re still focussed on the road ahead and that you don’t get too distracted by whatever you’re playing en route.
Keep passengers entertained
Music playlists are a great way to keep everyone entertained if you’re travelling with friends. But, if you’re travelling with kids or grandkids, then make sure you stock up on games, puzzles or other gadgets to keep them entertained. The last thing you want to hear is ‘are we there yet?’ a hundred times over. If you end up relying on tablets, make sure you have the right chargers with you in case the battery drains faster than expected.
These simple tips should help long journeys feel faster more comfortable, but ensuring your insurance is up to date and that you’re covered for all eventualities is essential before you make any kind of trip.