How to Prepare for a Long-Haul Driving Trip

November 17, 2021

Now that the world is starting to open back up, more people are starting to travel once again. Restrictions are being lifted and we can now start to enjoy our long weekends away. 

With the pandemic still being very much at the forefront of people’s minds, it’s understandable if you have some hesitation with regards to traveling. You might not want to get onto a plane and travel across the world just yet. 

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy a great vacation!

You can stay local and travel to a nearby city or town. Find somewhere that you’ve never had the chance to explore in your local area and book yourself a weekend trip away. 

If you’re planning a long weekend in a place that is within drivable distance, you will to prepare yourself and your car for the long-haul journey.

Traveling can be tedious, especially when the weather conditions are poor and the journey seems to take forever. But by taking the best preparatory steps before you travel, you can make your journey as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

Here are some top tips to help you to prepare yourself and your vehicle for a long-haul drive. Following these steps will make your journey more enjoyable so you can begin your vacation from the moment you leave your home.

Fill Your Car’s Tank

Failing to fill up your car’s tank with sufficient fuel could cause you to break down halfway through the long journey. If you break down somewhere in the middle of a long country road, it might be hours before you can get help. This is not only inconvenient and stressful, but it could delay the start of your vacation by several hours. 

Before you set off on your long-haul journey, make sure to fill up your vehicle with as much fuel as it can hold. This will ensure that you have enough fuel to arrive safely at your destination. If you suspect that you will need more than one tank of fuel to complete your journey, plan your route so that you go past at least one service station on the way. 

Alongside filling up your fuel tank, consider using stiction prevention oil additives. These products are oil treatments that can be used in both gas and diesel engines. They remove the sludge that accumulates in your car’s engine from burnt oil (known as stiction), which helps the engine to run more efficiently.

Using stiction can improve your car’s fuel economy and reduce wear and tear on your engine by up to 62%, which can be helpful when you’re completing a long-haul journey.

Prioritize Your Safety

Driving a car is not risk free. You should always take extra precautions to keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers safe. 

Get together an emergency kit to keep in the trunk of your car. It should include a flashlight, jump leads, and a roadside safety kit in case you break down along the way.

You should also have a fully stocked first aid kit that contains plasters, bandages, sterile wipes, and latex-free gloves. This will cover you for minor injuries that you might sustain in the event of an accident until you can get to the nearest hospital. 

Keeping yourself safe also means learning about the local laws of the area or state that you are traveling to. You don’t want to get into any legal trouble on your relaxing vacation! 

Prepare Some Snacks and Lots of Water

If you’re traveling for several hours, you’re going to get hungry. When your blood sugar falls too low, it can cause you to feel drowsy and dizzy. You might start to lose focus and get more distracted as you’re driving. This puts your safety at risk. 

To prevent yourself from getting too low on energy as you drive, make sure to pack yourself some energy-boosting snacks for the journey. Make them easy and quick to eat so you can pull up by the side of the road and top up your energy levels before continuing on your journey.

It’s easy to forget about drinking enough water when you’re focusing on the road ahead. But dehydration can lead to loss of concentration and a nasty headache. Drinking water along your journey is just as important as keeping your belly full!

Make sure that you fill up a few bottles of water to keep yourself hydrated and focused. It's okay to pack yourself some hot coffee for the journey too but remember that coffee is a diuretic. This causes you to need more toilet trips than usual, which is inconvenient for long-haul journeys and could leave you feeling even more thirsty.

Get Enough Sleep the Night Before

There’s nothing worse than driving when you are extremely tired. If you don’t get a great night’s sleep before your long-haul journey, you are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. This can put you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk of an accident. 

When you are sleepy, your reaction times are much slower and you are less likely to spot a hazard in the distance as you are driving. This increases your risk of getting into a road traffic accident, thereby increasing your risk of sustaining an injury along your journey. 

If you can, and get to bed early the night before you are due to travel. Aim to get 7-9 hours of good quality sleep before your long-haul drive.

Practice great sleep hygiene techniques to help you drift off into a deep sleep quickly and easily. 

This might involve turning off your television and phone a couple of hours before bed to avoid the blue light exposure. You could also practice some deep breathing and meditation exercises to relax your mind prior to sleep.

If you don’t manage to get enough sleep and you’re traveling with other people who are legally insured to drive your car, take turns behind the wheel. This will give you chance to rest and recuperate for an hour or two along the way to your vacation destination.

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