Arrive at your destination safely by following these long distance driving tips

Sheen Panel Service on 21 September 2020

Driving long distances is one of life's great pleasures. Other alternatives just aren't as enjoyable. Cross-country flying necessitates frustrating encounters with airport bureaucracy, and walking hundreds of kilometres just isn't practical for most people. For many people, an extended automotive adventure is the ultimate expression of freedom.

But driving long distances can also be fraught with peril. If fatigue sets in, something goes wrong with the car, or you're driving in unforeseen conditions, then things can quickly get dangerous. If you'd like to know how to survive a long road trip, read on and we'll answer all the most pressing questions.

Even with all the preparation in the world, accidents happen. If you do find yourself in an accident, get your vehicle back to pre-accident condition by reaching out for Sheen's smash repairs.

How do you prepare a car for a long distance drive?

You don't want your vehicle breaking down when you're out on the open road, potentially hundreds of kilometres away from help. You should prepare your car by:

  • Getting it serviced prior to setting off
  • Make sure all major components are in good working order
  • Ensure the engine, breaks, and tyres are up to scratch

Additionally, you can stay prepared by bringing along some supplies for the drive. For example, make sure you've got a spare tyre, and that you know how to change it.

What should you wear when driving long distances?

Comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing is a must when going for a long drive. Distractions are a hazard when you're travelling at high speeds, and you want to be focused on the road — not on your stuffy sweater or too-tight trousers.

For especially long drives, make sure you have extra clothing and supplies in case you have to make an impromptu stopover somewhere overnight — it can get cold in some parts of the country. And if you're driving during bright and sunny daylight hours, it always helps to have some sunglasses handy.

What is the best time to drive long distance?

The best time to set out on a long drive is early in the morning. This is especially true if you're starting your journey in a big city. By getting up early, you'll beat the morning rush and potentially shave hours off your travel time.

Many people are not confident about driving at night. If that's you, ensure that you're driving during the day to make sure you have a calm and safe journey.

How do you drive long distance without getting tired?

tired man yawning after driving long distances

There are a number of ways to stay awake and refreshed while driving long distances. Having an interesting passenger in the front seat is a tried and tested way to stay alert. By engaging in stimulating conversation, you're less likely to drift into a daydream.

It is also important to stay hydrated, so bring plenty of water for your drive. Caffeine and snacks are also excellent stimulants; stopping for a coffee and a pastry at a country town bakery is a delicious way to stay focused and alert*.

There are many other measures people take to fend off tiredness while driving, like blasting the air conditioner, rolling a window down, or playing loud music. Having said that, there's really only one sure-fire way to treat tiredness while driving — you need to stop and rest.

*Beware of the caffeine come-down however — it can leave you more tired than before.

How often should you stop when driving long distance?

A good rule of thumb is to take a break for at least fifteen minutes every two hours. Additionally, any time you feel fatigue starting to set in, you should pull over and rest where it is safe to do so.

Some people drive for longer than two hours at a time because they feel fine, and don't think they need to take a break. Often, people are trying to rush through their trip — setting goals of 'if I make it to the next town, I'll stop'.

It is important to remember that fatigue can creep up on you, slowing your reaction times and impairing your judgement without you even noticing. Taking regular breaks is an effective and proven way of mitigating that risk.

When accidents happen, come and talk to the team at Sheen Panel Service. We repair a wide variety of vehicles and can get your car back on the road, ready for its next long distance drive.