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How To Prepare Mentally And Physically For A Long-Distance Drive?

Hey there, folks! Are you planning a long road trip soon? 

Awesome! Driving long distances can be an exciting experience, but it can become exhausting if you don’t prepare yourself mentally and physically before you hit the road. 

Trust me, a little prep can make all the difference between an enjoyable journey and feeling drained. 

In this article, I’ll share some simple tips for making your next road trip fun and memorable.

How To Prepare For A Long Drive: 12 Useful Tips

Below are a few things you must consider while preparing for road trips. 

Plan Your Journey Ahead

Before you start your journey, you must map your route. 

You can find your route easily with the GPS. However, there’s a chance that your phone battery may die or lose signal at certain places. So, keeping a reliable paper map with you as a second option is better. 

While planning your route, ensure there are gas stations, toilet facilities, and rest stops along the way so that you can take breaks when needed. 

If you’re driving an electric vehicle, check whether there are charging stops and plan your journey accordingly. 

Next, traveling on the freeway for a long time can be tedious. Sightseeing can make your road trip fun and less stressful. 

Find some places that you can visit on the way. This will make your trip enjoyable, allow you to stretch your body, and refresh your mind. 

Remember, the time taken for your long drive and the level of fatigue mainly depends on the road conditions. So, research and know your route well.

Happy road trip

Prepare Your Car And Ensure You Have Your Vehicle Documents

Imagine your car breaking down in the middle of your long trip. It could be frustrating and spoil the entire road trip. Therefore, it’s crucial to prepare your car for a long journey. 

Ensure the tires are in good condition and get your car serviced before you hit the road. If you’ve serviced the car recently, do a visual check of the following: 

  • Check fuel level and top up as required.
  • Fluid levels such as brake fluid, coolant, and engine oil. 
  • Tire pressure.
  • Lights. 
  • Wiper blades.
  • Tire tread.

Take all your essential driving documents, such as your driving license, car insurance, roadside assistance, and owner’s manual. 

Additionally, ensure your car insurance is up to date. You never know when you’ll need them. For example, you might need to use your insurance for a road accident or to get a rental car.

Pack An Emergency Kit

Carrying an emergency kit helps you handle the unexpected. Everyone’s emergency kit is not the same however below are some essentials you must have:

  • First aid kit.
  • Spare tire.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Emergency blankets.
  • Jerry can.
  • Flashlight.
  • Tow rope. 
  • Non-slip gloves.
  • Foil blanket.
  • Screwdrivers and wrenches. 
  • Necessary cables include the car charger for your phone, USB cables, camera chargers, etc.

If you face any issue with your car on the way that you cannot fix yourself, call a car recovery service nearby that’s available 24/7.  

Stay Updated On Weather Conditions 

Checking the weather before starting your road trip ensures that you don’t drive into dangerous conditions when there are other routes. 

Always keep an alternative route in mind even if the weather is clear when you start your long trip. 

Top up the washer fluid and make sure your wipers are working well. Pack chains if you need to traverse snow along the way.  

Adjust The Seat And Mirrors

Adjust your seat properly so you can sit comfortably. Sit up straight to promote maximum blood flow. Sitting in a slouched position during a long trip will lead to back pain. 

Adjust your mirror to eliminate blind spots and get maximum visibility. These minor adjustments help you to drive safely. 

Road close up

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Long road trips can be fatiguing, and you’re more likely to micro-nap which takes your focus away from the road. This temporary loss of focus can be dangerous. 

Therefore, you must rest well and get adequate sleep before you start your long-distance driving. It’s advised to sleep for 7 hours for two consecutive nights, but some people may need more than 7 hours of sleep. 

Enough sleep increases your energy reserves, leads to a well-rested brain, and improves attention

Additionally, avoid driving between 1-3 am, as your body temperature drops at these times, and 

you naturally feel heavy-eyed. Driving after a long day of work is unsafe, too. 

The best time to start your road trip is early morning after a good night’s sleep. If your road trip lasts for several days, allocate money in your budget to stay at a hotel overnight. 

Consume a healthy breakfast before starting your drive. A meal with eggs, toast, and fruits is highly recommended. 

Eggs are rich in proteins, and toast contains carbohydrates that boost your energy. Fruits supply you with vitamins and minerals to keep your body less fatigued.

Take Regular Breaks

Sitting behind the wheel for long hours can cause body pain, strain your eyes, and drive you to a trance-like state. 

Additionally, the road conditions can add up to the stress. For example, sunny weather can make people sleepy, and extreme cold can lead to white-knuckle driving. Hence, you must take regular breaks regardless of the weather conditions. 

Travel experts suggest you break your drive every 2 hours or 100-150 miles to stretch your legs and arms. Taking a fresh breath of air can improve your concentration and focus. Plan your stops ahead of the long trip. 

Remember, driving tired is equal to driving drunk, and it can be fatal. So don’t wait till your body tires out fully. Take a power nap by stopping your car at a parking stop, or share the driving duties every 2 hours if you’re traveling with a partner.

Pack Healthy Snacks And Fluids 

You may think you can stop for meals on the way, but there might be stretches of road without a gas station or a restaurant for miles. Heavy meals and oily foods can also make you sluggish. 

Therefore, pack some healthy foods to fuel up and stay energetic throughout the road trip.

Below are some of the best road trip snack ideas:

  • Cereal
  • Protein bars
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Beef jerky 
  • Carrots 
  • Grapes

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your water supply well stocked, especially if you’re traveling in sunny weather. It’s better to avoid energy drinks and caffeine. 

Dehydration leads to a foggy mentality which can cause car accidents. Starving can lower your blood pressure and cause fatigue. 

So, to maintain maximum energy, eat some snacks and drink water regularly. Keep the snacks and water in a place that’s easily accessible without distracting you from the road. 

Protip: Chewing gum is a repetitive process that improves blood circulation in your face. So, chew gum to stay alert while driving.  

Use Good Scents

Keep a source of peppermint scent nearby while driving long distances. 

The peppermint smell is known to reduce fatigue and increase alertness. So, when you feel drowsy during your road trip, sniff the peppermint scent.

Driving GPS

Avoid Distractions

It’s easy to get distracted while traveling for miles on the open road and driving distracted can be dangerous for you and those traveling around you. So, set up for a distraction-free journey.  

Remove any objects affecting your view of the road from the dashboard. 

Don’t use your phone while driving. If you want to listen to music or an audiobook, set it up before you start your drive so that you don’t have to fiddle with the phone while driving. 

The same goes for Google Maps and other navigation gadgets. Set them up before starting your road trip.

If something needs your attention, pull over and attend to it. If you’re traveling with kids who need extra care, bring someone to care for them.

Have Some Entertainment 

Long road trips can be extremely exhausting for kids and adults alike. So prepare for some entertainment before you start your road trip. 

If you’re traveling with kids, play simple classic games like I Spy, word games, or give your kids some coloring books. This could make your trip fun and help pass the time until you reach your destination. 

If you’re an adult, you can entertain yourself by playing music or listening to your favorite podcast or audiobook. Create your playlist before starting your long road trip.

Use The Cruise Control Properly

Cruise control is made for long journeys. It imitates your driving, so you don’t have to press down the accelerator pedals. 

Enabling cruise control reduces driver fatigue and promotes fuel efficiency. However, using it in short stints over long distances is recommended.   

Stay alert about the road conditions, traffic, and weather, and disengage cruise control when necessary. 

Are You Ready For Your Next Adventure?

Long journeys can be exhausting and stressful. Hence, you must take some safety precautions and actions to make your trip fun, less exhausting, and memorable. 

First, plan your long road trip. Decide which route to take, where to stop, etc. Next, prepare your car for a long journey to avoid car trouble. Check the oil level and fill it up as needed.

Stay fresh and energetic by eating healthy snacks, taking power naps, and staying hydrated. Additionally, keep yourself entertained, and don’t forget about safe driving habits.

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