With the country seemingly rising from the effects of COVID-19, most movement restrictions have now been lifted. That means many Americans will be driving long distances to their favorite holiday destinations, sometimes going beyond state lines.
While driving long distances to new places can be fun, it can also be dangerous, especially if the weather changes or it’s your first time. But worry not, as this guide offers handy driving tips to help you stay safe while on a long-distance drive.
1) Get Enough Sleep and Rest
Fatigue and sleep deprivation are likely when driving long distances. Unfortunately, these two can cause micro-sleeps and result in little focus lapses while driving, which could be all you need to cause or get involved in an accident.
According to the CDC, 24 hours of sleep deprivation causes the same level of incapacitation as having a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent. Therefore, be sure to get enough sleep in the days leading to your trip to ensure you are well-rested.
2) Break Your Drive into Manageable Portions
If you are going for an extra-long drive that takes more than a day, you will need to break up your drive into manageable sections for resting or retiring for the night. The best approach would be to look at the map of your travel and pre-plan stopovers at specific attraction spots.
Experts recommend stopping at least once every two hours for approximately 15 minutes. Also, it would be best if you don’t drive for more than nine hours a day. If possible, avoid driving at night. So when planning your trip, you want to consider a town or hotel approximately nine hours or less away as your sleep-over point.
3) Make Sure You’re Fully Familiar With Common Road Signs
If your routine drives are limited to one state or town for commuting to and from work, it is easy to forget some common road signs when you do not encounter them regularly. But long drives can take you through different terrains, weather conditions, and road conditions which could mean coming across road signs you may not remember or know.
Signs are usually placed on the road to protect you and other road users, so you may want to ensure you are familiar with as many of them as possible. If you are going to be driving a long distance on unfamiliar roads, this list of road signs and their meanings by cheapinsurance.com can help jog your memory.
4) Take Your Car for a Tune-Up
Driving for long distances stretches your vehicle performance to the limits, meaning slight problems could quickly turn into full-blown mechanical issues. That’s why you must get your car tuned for the long trip ahead to ensure your safety while driving.
Some critical areas to focus on when getting a tune-up may include lights, oil level, engine coolant, windscreen wipers, tire tread depth, fuel level, emergency supplies, and driving mode if you have such options. You may also want to check tire pressure before leaving and after every stop along the way.
5) Carry Some Emergency Supplies
Even with the best preparation, something can still go wrong, so you want to be sure that you are ready for such eventualities. Emergency supplies include water, food, first aid kits, emergency lights, and a toolbox.
Since you may not know what will happen, you want to be sure you have everything that can help you when the worst happens. Besides a toolbox, you may want to carry an extra tire or two and an inflator tool.