Most people prefer to fly or take the train when traveling long distances. After all, they’re usually the fastest ways to get from point A to point B. However, there’s a lot to be said for driving to your destination, even if it’s several states away. Some people have even explored the country in their car. You get to enjoy the scenery, stop whenever you want, and explore hidden gems along the route.
Of course, there are downsides. Sitting in the car for God knows how long isn’t the most comfortable experience. And your patience will be seriously tested if you’re traveling with children. Since a cross-country drive typically takes hours of driving every day for several days, you need to be prepared for any eventualities. And if you’re driving for work, it helps to know a truck labor lawyer in case of disputes.
The secret to a successful road trip lies in the preparation. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
1. Plan your food ahead of time
When you’re on a deadline, you want to cover as much ground as possible. That means you need to drive for long stretches, only stopping for sleep and bathroom breaks. With a tight schedule, finding time to eat can be a problem. You have two realistic options: you can eat in the car or grab a quick bite at a diner or fast-food restaurant. If you’re thinking of packing your own meals, don’t bother. Your food will turn bad after a day or so.
While you can always bring snacks and drinks, you can’t subsist on junk alone. You’ll need something more substantial. Fast food is always plentiful, but try to look for a diner that serves healthier fare. It also helps to research and identify restaurants along your route so you won’t have to waste time taking a detour to a town.
2. Keep the thermostat low
It might sound counterintuitive, but you don’t want your ride to be too comfortable. Lack of sleep is a major cause of vehicular accidents, and you do not want to fall asleep at the wheel. One of the best ways to stay awake is to keep the vehicle as cold as possible. If you’re in a cold area, turn off the heater and let the wind chill work its magic. Meanwhile, crank up the air conditioning if you’re driving somewhere warm.
The cold temperatures will keep you awake for hours. There’s a reason why sleep quality often drops in the winter months. If your immediate surroundings are too cold, you’ll have a difficult time nodding off. While uncomfortable, it’s an easy way to stay awake while driving for long stretches.
3. Get plenty of sleep
You can’t expect to get a full night’s sleep once you’re out on the road, so you need to make sure you’re fully rested before embarking on your road trip. Start by getting seven to eight hours of sleep for three straight nights to prime your body for the trip. Timing your departure will also help you stay rested for longer. It’s better to start your journey in the morning, when your energy levels are at their peak.
Once you’re on the road, make sure to schedule regular breaks to keep your energy up. Don’t wait until you feel exhausted before stopping. You’ll need a longer recovery time, which can affect your schedule. As a general rule, take a five or ten-minute break for every three hours of driving. Regular short breaks are more effective than an extended one.
4. Occupy yourself
Boredom can take its toll on your physical and mental energy, and it’s important to keep your mind active for the long journey ahead. For instance, you can create a road trip playlist and sing along to your favorite songs. It doesn’t matter what songs you choose as long as you keep yourself alert.
Another way to distract yourself is to talk to someone while you’re talking. Use this opportunity to catch up with old friends or family you haven’t seen in a while. Just make sure to use the slow lane since talking affects your coordination. It also helps to invest in a CB radio and explore the available channels.
A final word
These things will help ensure a safer and more productive road trip. Whoever said the journey is more important than the destination obviously hasn’t tried driving 10 hours a day for weeks. Lastly, have your vehicle checked for any signs of trouble.