Anyone who has driven to a destination that took several hours (and I mean anything from 6 hours to beyond) can all tell you about how dreadful the drive was. No matter what, besides choosing a different way of getting to a destination, the long hours of the drive will still remain. What you CAN do is take a few precautions and steps to help alleviate the drive and make those hours seem a little less daunting than it actually is. I have included some tips that I feel were especially helpful for me.
1) The number one (and most obvious) tip that I could possibly give anyone when preparing for a drive like this is to GET SLEEP. For most people, getting enough sleep the night before just won’t be enough. If you are one of these people, be sure to get into a regular sleep schedule for at least 2 days prior to your trip. Sleeping will help recharge your brain and body to make sure you have the energy to keep going and keep alert. There are way too many cases of people randomly crashing into the meridian or off the road because of being sleepy and tired and doing the simple act of getting enough sleep can be enough to give you that extra push.
2) Have at least one other friend or companion with you for this journey. Having someone with you for the drive makes an enormous difference, but there’s one catch: Both of you should agree to talking about anything and everything ALL THE TIME. It’s amazing how much more awake someone can be just by having someone there to talk to about anything, even the most random of subjects. If your friend or companion is with you, but decides to go to sleep, there’s a great chance that it’ll probably just make you even more sleepy and tired. So bring a friend a long, but TALK. Even if it’s as simple as talking about a tree you just passed by. New thoughts and new ideas are able to bring about new and interesting conversations. Just be sure to give your partner your attention and be receptive to ANY ideas or thoughts that are brought up. Talking and conversation can help so much, you can drive hours on end without needing any music at all.
3) Be willing to stop. One of the worst things to do when you make drives that are this long is push yourself to keep going regardless of your present condition. If you are tired and/or are sleepy, give yourself the option to take a break, nap, or even just eat. Taking a 15-20 minute break to do whatever it is you need to do can be enough to keep you going for hundreds of miles. Sleeping in a 24 hour parking can also be enough to give you the energy to drive all day. No matter what, disregarding your need to take a nap, break, or sleep can backfire and cause you fall asleep on the road.
4) Stay hydrated. Make sure to buy a case of water bottles or be prepared in some way to consistently be able to fill up a water bottle(s). Staying hydrated will keep your mind fresh and even more-so, it gives you another reason to make stops: To pee. Sometimes, a quick restroom break is enough to keep you going and it’s an undeniable force when you are traveling long distances. So don’t forget the water.
5) Record the trip. On my journeys, I also like to bring along a camera that I will charge in my car using an outlet converter and record videos of all the people in the car logging about how we are feeling about everything. This gives you a chance to be more animated and more awake as being in front of a camera can change your mood internally. We usually recorded after every 30 to 40 miles on the road. Even having a recording session where you have absolutely no idea what to say can help.
6) Use cruise control! If you have cruise control, this will make things a LOT easier on you as you will be able to focus more on the conversation you could be having with a friend, or even on the video as your companion records you talking. Having cruise control allows you to adjust your speed to how fast you want to go without worrying too much about making sure you don’t go over or under that speed. Of course, this does not mean that you should take your attention off of the road, but it does mean that you have a little less to worry about.
7) Begin looking for gas stops once you start nearing the quarter full mark. Keeping your gas levels up and being cautious about gas goes a long way. You never want to find yourself traveling many miles without a gas station in sight. For this tip, it’s more about being safe than sorry.
8) Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have enough tread depth. This is another tip for being safe rather than sorry. Traveling such long distances produces a lot of wear on your tires. Even before going, make sure you tires are in good condition and are properly inflated because keeping your tires inflated can help you save bundles on gas and time. Check with an auto center to see if your tire tread depth is okay, or use the old coin trick to make sure it’s not too low (Stick a penny into one of the cracks of the tire with Lincoln’s head pointing towards the tire. If you see the top of his head or see any of the words at that end, you need new tires)
So, there you have it. If you’ve read this article, you obviously know that taking long trips to places can be exhausting, but applying some of these trips into your drive can make you feel like you’ve cut those hours in half. Have fun driving! And be safe!