Are you planning a long-distance drive all by yourself? Are you making a big move, and need to drive your car so that you have it in your new home?
Driving across the country can be a fun adventure for anyone who loves driving, and wants to explore. It also can be a challenge if you have never done anything like this before, or if nobody can go with you.
Never fear, we have some tips to help you get on your way. We’ve chosen our top ten driving tips, although here’s a list that includes many more.
Plan Your Route
While sometimes routes can change because of unexpected road work, accidents, or weather, it’s always good to have a loose idea before you get on the road. Even though its easy to rely on GPS nowadays, its good to have your route mapped out on an actual map as well. Believe it or not, sometimes GPS fails. Your planning should include the distance for each day, any stops you plan along the way for fun and sightseeing, and anything else that will make your trip more joyous. While allowing for a little flexibility, planning in advance will also enable you to keep someone informed of your route, which helps with your safety.
Create a Playlist
Whether you prefer music, audio books, podcasts, or something else, create a playlist that will help fill the time and the silence of driving alone. Having it ready in advance will help you avoid the distraction of trying to find something on the radio—which could be dangerous.
Stop at Truck Stops
You may be tempted to just pull off anywhere, or at one of those rest stops that provide bathrooms or picnic tables and little else. However, a truck stop has the added benefit of food, supplies, and human interaction.
Stretch Every Time You Stop
Long hours sitting and driving can be really tough on your body. It is important to stretch your shoulders, back, and hips every time you stop. Don’t wait for the pain to be intense—stretching will help keep your body happy when you get to your destination.
Plan Overnight Stays
This is an important part of the planning. Will you be staying at motels, hotels, or campgrounds? Are you planning on sleeping in your car? Are you crashing at friends’ houses? These decisions are important to make to ensure your safety throughout the trip.
One thing you shouldn’t do is plan to drive non-stop, or without rests. It’s dangerous. The general rule is that you shouldn’t drive more than 8 hours in any given day (approximately 500 miles). If your trip will take more than a day, you need to have a place (or places) to stay.
Pack Snacks and Water
As tempting as it might be (for some) to indulge in fast food and junk food for your entire trip, after a while it can make you feel kind of gross. Purchase healthy snacks and lots of water for the road, and either eat it when you take a break or have it easily accessible for the drive.
Think about things like nuts and dried fruit, in addition to your decadent splurges. Don’t be digging for snacks when your hands should be on the wheel. Distracted driving is a lead cause of accidents.
Dress for Comfort
Comfort should be your priority. Dress for the weather, with layers if you are driving in the cold. Wear comfortable shoes that are good for driving. Style is all well and good, but comfort is key when driving long distances.
Caffeinate - Don’t Overdo It!
Caffeine can help you stay alert while driving, but you shouldn’t rely on it. Drowsy driving is dangerous driving. If you are tired, you should take a break and perhaps a nap. Then a little caffeine can perk you back up and get you on the road.
Take Breaks Every Two Hours
If you haven’t noticed, a lot of our tips are about planning. Plan on taking a 15 minute (minimum) break every two hours. Why? According to a study done at Virginia Tech, fatigue causes 20% of road accidents. While professional drivers may be able to last longer before they take a break, if this is your first time driving long distances it is better to be safe. Take a break. Stretch. Rest. Then you can get back on the road. While it may slow you down, at least you will get where you are going safely.
Open Your Windows
This may seem like a strange suggestion, but a little fresh air can do you a lot of good. Weather permitting, opening the window just the tiniest bit (the width of a finger) helps the air circulate. If you aren’t stuck in traffic, the smells of the country or beach or mountains can add pleasure to your trip, and help you keep focused and alert.
Or, Let ShipLux Move Your Car for You!
Here at ShipLux, we love driving and we love cars. If you want to take a long-distance road trip, then we support you 100%. We hope that you enjoy the trip, see the country, and stay safe. Don’t rush; enjoy the wonders of the open road.
However, if you don’t have the time to do it safely, or are nervous about driving cross country on your own, there is another option. Reach out to our agents and ask for a price quote! Trust our team of experienced drivers to get your car to you in a timely, safe, and secure fashion
Let us do the driving for you.