No matter the occasion, there’s almost a 100 percent certainty you’ll take at least one lengthy road trip each year. However, many problems can arise on these trips, especially if you haven’t taken the necessary steps to plan ahead. Maintaining your sanity and staying alert are the two main concerns, and you don’t want to lose your mind or get in an accident. If you struggle coping with long drives, follow these simple tips to counteract the effects.
1. Get Some Sleep
Whether you’re leaving at 12 a.m. or 12 p.m., you need to get some much-needed rest before your drive. If you’re driving overnight, get some exercise so you can fall asleep early. Ideally, you want to have about seven hours of sleep before you set off. If you don’t get a good night’s rest before a long drive, the results could be catastrophic. Estimates show that falling asleep at the wheel caused more than 1,500 fatalities, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in property damage each year. Don’t end up being one of these statistics.
2. Hit Up That Truck Stop
On the interstate you’ll pass by plenty of rest areas that provide restrooms and limited resources. Truck stops, however, usually have showers, restaurants, bathrooms, snacks, and other supplies. Because of these amenities, it’s best to pull over here, as it gives you time to recharge, grab a coffee, or even take a shower to feel refreshed before getting back on the road.
3. Pack the Right Food
There’s a reason road trip food has an infamous reputation. It’s typically unhealthy and loaded with preservatives and sugar. When you eat this food, it gives you a sudden jolt of energy that recedes quickly. Instead of buying a bag of Doritos and a king-size Snickers, opt for healthier foods such as fruit and vegetables. Protein bars and beef jerky also give your body the protein it needs to function throughout the trip. Caffeinated beverages are fine, but try to balance consumption of these drinks with water.
4. Pump Up the Jams
Music plays a pivotal role during long treks in your car. It keeps you more aware and puts you in a good mood. For these reasons, you need to make certain you have enough music for the journey. Fill your iPod or smartphone with your favorite tunes a few days before you leave so you aren’t frantically doing it the night before. If you aren’t the world’s biggest music lover, bring a book on tape, a podcast, or something else that piques your interest.
5. Get Peace of Mind
If you have an older car or you’ve had the unfortunate luck of breaking down on a trip, make sure you prepare for a worst-case scenario. The first step is to get an oil change and tire rotation a few days before your trip so your car’s in tip-top condition. You might also want to add an AAA membership, which provides roadside assistance around the clock.
Don’t let a lengthy drive wear on your mind. Instead, use these steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.