Top Tips for a Long Journey
It’s an unavoidable fact, sometimes you have to make a longer journey than you’re used to. This could be from visiting family to relocating, so you need to make sure you’re ready for any eventuality.
Keep reading for our top tips on how to prepare yourself for a long car drive.
Before a long car journey, you need to organise yourself both mentally and physically. Make sure that you get enough rest the night before, and make sure you eat enough the following morning before you leave.
Don’t rely on caffeine to keep you alert during your journey. You might feel awake for the first part, but the effects will soon recede over time. Make sure you drink plenty of water, and have a spare bottle handy during the drive.
When it comes to longer journeys – especially to locations you’re not familiar with – it can be stressful. You’re constantly keeping an eye on the road and focussing on not getting lost, so making sure that you’re well rested means your concentration won’t lapse whilst travelling.
Prepare your car
Equally as important for safe driving on a longer journey is checking the condition of your car before you leave. These checks should include:
- Tyre pressure – Having the correct tyre pressure not only means you’ll be driving safely, it means you’ll be more economical with your fuel. If you have several people or lots of luggage in the car, then having the right tyre pressure is essential for safe driving.
- Tyre tread – The minimum legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm, but we would always recommend having a minimum of at least 3mm. If you’re going to be travelling in adverse weather conditions, you need to know how to react should anything happen. If you’re going to be driving in winter, then take a look here on how to prepare.
- Screens, Mirrors and Lights – Make sure that the screens are clean, and the screen wash has been topped up. Check your mirrors to ensure they’re clean, and make sure that all your lights are functioning as they should.
Plan your route
There’s nothing worse than getting lost whilst you’re on a long journey. You’re in unfamiliar territory, you have no idea what the local landmarks are and you don’t have an alternative route.
Planning your journey the night before means you’ll be more prepared should any motorways or roads be closed the next day. Always have a back-up route in place should anything happen, and make a note of any local landmarks as a point of reference whilst driving.
You shouldn’t always have to rely on motorways as the fastest way to travel. If you’re not in a rush, then you could take the scenic route. Take a look here for top tips on how to drive safely on country roads.
Take a break
Taking a break is essential when it comes to driving long distances. The longer the journey, the more your concentration is going to be tested, so make sure that you stop whenever you start to feel tired.
If you can, then take a stop and walk around for at least 20 minutes before driving again. Along any major motorway you’ll be able to find a service station. They’re signposted throughout the route, so take note of how close you are to one when you’re feeling tired.
Restock your supplies, visit the rest room, and refocus on the rest of the journey. No matter how quickly you need to be at your destination, it’s better to be rested than driving whilst tired.
Don’t rely on technology
Even the most up to date technology can fail. You might not have updated your Satnav in a while, or your in-car navigation system may be outdated, so make sure that you have a back up for if you get lost.
This could be the A-Z of UK roads, or it could be a printed map from the Internet, as long as you have something to reference you shouldn’t have to worry. Consider highlighting your route on the map, making reference to any local landmarks you’ll be passing.
This way if you do find yourself taking an unexpected detour, then you won’t have to worry about getting lost. Make sure that if you do have to reference your map you do so safely. Don’t read it whilst driving, park in a safe, off-road location where you’re not in danger from on-coming traffic.
Pack an emergency kit
Forward planning is best practice when driving anywhere. You should pack an emergency kit and have it ready to use should the unexpected happen. Things to pack can include:
- Bottled water and snacks
- High visibility clothing
- Warm clothing and a shovel in winter
- First aid kit
- Spare fuses and bulbs
- A foot pump or tyre inflator
You can never predict what’s going to happen on the roads, so take a look at these common roadside emergencies and how to deal with them for more information.
So there we have it, our top tips for safe long journey driving. What do you think? How do you prepare before you travel? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so let us know on Facebook here, or Twitter here.
As the leading company for car or van hire in North Shropshire and South Cheshire we understand the importance of safe driving. To find out more about our self-drive vehicles, then get in touch with us here.