With so many spectacular long-distance holiday destinations out there, staying safe on the road is essential for you and your family. A ‘long-distance’ trip is generally a trip of 150 miles or more, or a trip that spans longer than three hours. Auto accidents increase during the holidays and most long-distance trips are enjoyed during the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. It is well worth being extra cautious when planning long road trips at these times. Here are a few long-distance driving tips to keep you safe this holiday season.
Plan Your Trip In Advance
Your trip will be more relaxing and enjoyable if you clearly know where you are going. Plan your trip in as much detail as possible. You should plan which roads you will take using GPS or maps. Further planning in the way of checking where you will be able to stop for food or fuel and see where there are resting spots along the road. Resting spots are absolutely crucial as you should opt for a rest every two hours to ensure driving fatigue is not a concerning factor that could endanger yourself and others on the road. You could also look at weather reports for the areas you will be driving through, so you’ll know what to expect on the road. While planning your trip it is also recommended to ensure your vehicle’s maintenance is up to date.
Get Enough Sleep The Night Before
When you are on the open road, fatigue is extremely dangerous, so make sure you are well-rested before setting out. If you are leaving super-early, make sure to adjust your bedtime the night before. Do not take any alcohol or other intoxicants the day before the drive is planned. As driving fatigue is a large impacting factor to countless devastating vehicle collisions, it is recommended to make a point of stopping every two hours along the route you are travelling to freshen up and stretch your legs. This effort will go a long way in keeping you safe on the roads. You can time these breaks to coincide with gas, food or bathroom breaks. Stretch your legs or take a short walk to give yourself a boost until you can stop again.
Share The Driving
You will be less likely to feel fatigued if you have another person to share the driving with. Therefore, if you are travelling in a group, it is recommended to switch drivers along the route as you will be able to rest along the way. You should never drive for longer than 10 hours in one day.
Allow Plenty Of Travel Time
What’s the point of rushing? You are on holiday after all. There is no benefit in driving faster or taking unnecessary risks. Avoid unnecessary overtaking and be aware that the roads are likely busier than usual. Cultivate the right frame of mind for a leisurely and focused drive. In addition to avoiding an unpleasant rush, you should also take necessary measures to ensure you are comfortable while travelling.
Comfortable clothes and shoes along with back/neck pillows can make a big difference if you are behind the wheel for a long time. Don’t forget the sunblock before you leave and be sure to re-apply frequently. Aircon can take your trip a little more comfortable, but be sure to intermittently let down the windows to let fresh air in. As aircon often recirculates the air, it will get depleted of oxygen without you clearly realizing it, meaning all people in the car will feel sleepy including the driver. Change the air often to stay alert and awake.
Stick to the rules of the road
Safe driving requires 100 per cent of your attention, especially on long distances. Don’t let distractions like cellphones, unsettled children in the back seat or eating/drinking impair your concentration. The speed limit should always be adhered to and make sure that everyone wears their safety belts at all times. There are effective ways of keeping children entertained on long road trips, such as packing in adequate snacks and entertainment. While keeping your children entertained can be done effectively with an ongoing conversation, sing-a-long songs and even the use of a portable movie player, you should also consider the risks of not buckling up your children according to the road laws. Therefore, you should buckle your children up in suitable car seats for a safe drive. If you are traveling with children, it is also recommended to educate them on the road laws and the potential dangers as this will help them understand the importance of good behaviour whilst driving.