Hitting the open road in search of adventure is something everyone loves to do. Whether you have a specific destination in mind for your road trip or you are flying by the seat of your pants, properly planning your excursion is a must.
In order to stay safe while driving long distances you'll need to plan out your travel, eat properly, rest enough, and remember to follow safe driving practices. Listening to your body and giving yourself enough time to make it an enjoyable and safe drive will help you stay safe.
Some people get so wrapped up in the excitement of going on a long road trip that they fail to realize just how taxing driving long distances can be on their physical and mental health. Add in the danger lurking around on the roadways in America and you have the potential for disastrous situations arising.
Trip Preparation Starts the Night Before You Leave
Some people think that the preparation for a road trip begins the moment they crank up their car. In actuality, you need to start preparing for this trip the night before by getting a good night’s rest. While you may be a bit anxious to get your trip started, you will need to avoid staying up too late.
You will also need to focus on getting a good meal before hitting the road. Not only will this allow you to avoid stopping down the road, it will also give a great burst of energy. Try to avoid consuming highly-caffeinated beverages with your meal. While these beverages will give you a momentary boost of energy, you will have to deal with the accompanying sugar crash a few hours later.
Plot Out the Course You Will Take in Detail
In the weeks leading up to a long trip, you need to spend some time plotting out the course you will take. With the help of online publications like The Ultimate Guide for Drivers! DMV & More | DrivingGuide.com, you can get the information needed to plot out your route with ease.
Failing to make a plan can lead to you getting lost or missing out on some great roadside attractions. If you don’t already have a GPS unit in your car, you may want to think about investing in one. These devices will help you find things like restaurants, hotels and even attractions with the push of a button.
Don’t Get Distracted While Behind the Wheel
In the modern age of technology, almost everyone has a cell phone and other mobile devices on them at all times. These gadgets are a great way to stay connected with the world around you, but they can also be distracting if you are behind the wheel.
Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of car wrecks in the United States. Instead of being just another victim of distracted driving, you need to invest in some hands-free accessories. By investing in a Bluetooth headset, you can field phone calls without having to take your eyes off of the road.
There are over 3 million car wreck related injuries in this country every year. Rather than putting yourself and your passengers in danger, you need to adequately prepare for driving long distances.
Sleep at Regular Intervals
While driving over several days to you destination, stop regularly to rest before continuing. You need the rest to be fully aware of what's going on with road conditions and traffic around you. Driving sleepy is similar to drunk driving and that's when people notice less and react slower.
You might feel the need to get to the destination tonight! Be willing to listen to your body and notice if you are dozing off. In these conditions it is critical to pull over at the next stop or exit and switch drivers or take a rest, even if it's just for 20 minutes.
Try to take rest stops every about every 2 hours for about 15 minutes. You may think you seem fine but your body needs the rest because of sustained effort the body undergoes while driving. Try to keep to a routine and stop after you've been driving about 8 hours.
Read below to find out more about how to stay safe while behind the wheel on a road trip.
Take advantage of Technology
Listening to music and making hands free calls can help you keep your eyes on the road and have an enjoyable trip. Set up your car so you can keep your hands off the phone and drive safely.
Many modern vehicles feature Bluetooth technology that allows you to play phone calls out of your speakers. With a bit of research, you should have no problem finding the right accessories to help you avoid driving while distracted.
While driving from Southern California to the Sacramento Area, I used a Bluetooth device that enable hands free use of my cell phone. (Amazon Link) It helped us stay safe while driving and keep our eyes on the road.
Some drivers have a false sense of security when it comes to driving on major roadways. Realizing the dangers of driving and working to avoid them will serve you well as you venture out into the world.
Should I buy a Bluetooth radio?
Having a Bluetooth radio for hands free calling and for playing music is a great idea, but it may cost more than you intended if you haven't had any experience installing radios. Each car and radio are different and their are many problems that can occur during installation. The good thing is radios are getting less expensive, but installation cost may range from $100-$300.
Can I use coffee to keep me awake for a long distance drive?
Coffee can keep you alert for longer, but hold on the sugar. Research suggests that caffeine helps drives reduce their risk of driving unsafely. So, if you get a strong coffee, it will provide some alertness when you start to feel drowsy. But, the body still needs just as much rest as normal, so don't push to the limit for you health and safeties sake.