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Top 10 Long Distance Driving Tips

Date: Mon 29th January 2018   |   Author: L Blake

Do you have a fear of long drives? Long distance driving can often feel scary if you don’t reguary drive long distances. However there's plenty of helpful tips and precautions that you can take to make your road trip a fun and enjoyable experience.  Discover the top ten tips for long distance driving at AutoProtect.

Top 10 Long Distance Driving Tips

Long distance drives alone can often feel daunting. Staying switched on and focused for long periods of time is important for road safety, but it can be draining. This article will cover helpful long distance driving tips so that you can stay out of danger on your next road trip.

Avoid driving whilst tired

Driving whilst tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Your reactions are slower and you’re at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. The best way to avoid feeling tired behind the wheel is to plan your drive accordingly and ensure you get a good night's sleep the night before.

Ensure you give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination, this way if you’re tired you can take a break. If possible, avoid driving late at night when you’re likely to feel more tired. For long drives where night time driving can’t be avoided, make arrangements to split the driving load where possible.

Refill the screen wash

During long distance driving, it’s inevitable your car will get covered in grit, dust, bugs or dirt. Without screen wash your view will be severely impacted in dry conditions. This can be a serious concern during night time driving, with glare from headlights causing issues. Make sure you fill up your screen wash before you set off though, because doing so whilst the engine is hot is dangerous.

Check the water and oil levels

Driving on low water or oil can be disastrous for your engine on long drives. As well as checking these routinely, you should always check them before a long drive. Always do so whilst the engine is cold.

Click here for more information on how to check your vehicle's oil level and when it needs changing.    

Always set off with a full tank

Before long distance car driving it can be dangerous to start your journey without filling your tank up. The Government has recommended motorway services not to be located more than 28 miles (or 30 minutes) apart, but unfortunately there’s still stretches of motorway in the UK without enough services.

To avoid a possible break down and a noticeable increase in your fuel price, make sure to visit a filling station before starting your journey. Always check your fuel levels on long drives and fill your car up when it gets to a quarter full.

Stock up on drinks and snacks

Services aren’t always easily accessible on UK roads, especially in congestion, so it’s helpful to take water and a snack when driving long distances. It’s not illegal to eat or drink whilst behind the wheel of a car in the UK but if the police consider you’re not in proper control of your vehicle they can prosecute you for careless driving. So if you begin to feel hungry or thirsty, you should look for a safe place to pull over.

Take regular breaks

When driving long distance, it is recommended you take at least a 15 minute break every two hours. When planning your journey, you should familiarise yourself with where the service stations are located along the motorway. It is also helpful to research other suitable stops that are located within easy reach to the motorway, for example, fast food restaurants.

When taking a break leave your vehicle and have a short walk to stretch your legs. This will increase your comfort when you begin driving again. 

Stay alert on your journey

Another tip for long distance driving is to regularly chew gum throughout your journey.  Evidence has proven that chewing gum improves your concentration and awareness. So keeping a packet of chewing gum to hand will allow you to become more focused and alert on the road.

Maintain a good posture

How can you expect to drive safely with a bad posture behind the wheel? Another long-distance driving tip is to maintain a good posture whilst driving. It is important to adjust your seat to fit your body shape, or you are likely to experience discomfort. Bad posture whilst driving could result in neck pain, back pain, cramp or even trapped nerves. To have the correct posture, tilt the backrest of the driver's seat back slightly. And ensure that when turning that your shoulders remain in contact with the seat. 

Use a Sat Nav

Using a sat nav on long-distance routes will keep you ahead of traffic and ensure you don’t get lost on unfamiliar roads. Sat navs have diversion features that allow you to avoid routes with congestion or road accidents. So using a sat nav will not only prevent you from getting lost during long distance driving, but also help complete your journey in the fastest possible time.

Have plenty of music and radio at your disposal

Listening or singing along to music or the radio (car-aoke), over long distances has been proven to actually increase your alertness in long distance driving. Not only this, having plenty of music and radio at your disposal overall makes the road trip a much more fun experience. Be careful though, because changing tracks and CDs whilst driving is obviously a massive distraction, so best to have it queued up before you set off.

We hope you found this blog post covering long distance car driving tips helpful. It’s important to understand how to drive safely when driving long distances, as your concentration and awareness are stretched in comparison to short journeys. There are plenty more useful topics covered by AutoProtect, helping you to better understand your vehicle and driving on UK roads.