Preparing the car to travel, feeling rested and checking the roads are all basic before embarking on a long drive. Therefore, it is important to properly plan your route to enjoy your holidays from the outset, from the first moment you sit behind the wheel. If you are thinking of organising a long road trip, check out our OneHowTo tips on how to plan a long drive. We'll help you minimise any risks that may arise when you're behind the wheel, ensuring a lovely, stress-free holiday.
Planning a car trip
Travelling on long journeys by car is a very common type of tourism, since it ensures autonomy and flexibility. Millions of people travel by road during their holidays. Thus, trip planning is a fundamental part before embarking on a long journey. Today it is much easier to organise the trip by using GPS, with which you can check all alternative routes.
To start planning your trip, choose the destination you fancy visiting and check the best routes using a road map. Keep crucial factors in mind, such as the distance, the cost of gasoline and tolls and travel hours. To make the trip more enjoyable, you can divide it into stages. This means you can organise the mandatory rest stops, in addition to thinking about meal times or after how many kilometres you should stop to refuel. Organising the trip like this will also enable you to see new places.
Before embarking on the journey, it is advisable that you consider departure and arrival date. Starting the journey on a weekday means you'll be less likely to encounter trouble on the roads such as as trailers or heavy traffic.
Check the car before travel
Security is essential for any trip, especially if it is a long drive. Therefore, it is necessary to check the car before starting off. It is important that you check oil levels, brakes, wipers and the steering, as well as the condition of the lights, tyres and their pressure and the engine. On the other hand, to ensure the comfort of all travellers, check the position of the seats and make sure that they are well anchored. Don't forget to check the correct position of mirrors to avoid blind spots that make you lose visibility.
Furthermore, it is essential to check that your vehicle carries all the necessary spare parts. You must carry spare wheels and the jack or manual lift to change the tyre in case of a puncture. You must also have spare lights and tools needed to install them if they break. Finally, remember that you must take a reflective vest and a set of two warning triangles which you must place at a safe distance from the car in the case of an accident or breakdown, to signal danger to other drivers.
Rest, an essential point
When going on a long drive, remember not to try to finish the journey in record time; instead, enjoy the spin. So, being well rested and stopping to rest every two hours is important to prevent accidents caused by fatigue, lack of sleep or drowsiness. Stopping every two hours or 200 kilometres is advisable. Wind down, stretch your legs and relax for a few minutes before returning to concentrate fully on the road. Having somebody who can take switch with you and take charge of the drive is very useful. Take turns to swap between rest stops.
Bear in mind the time at which you embark on your trip. If you do it early in the day, try to get enough rest at night. It is not advisable to start the journey after meals, especially if these are heavy because they can cause drowsiness and heavy digestions. Light meals, fruit, drinking water, juices or caffeinated drinks will help to keep you alert, attentive, focused and rested throughout the journey. Another tip to enhance driving comfort and help alleviate fatigue is to dress comfortably. Avoid tight clothing that will restrict movement.
Remember that the best time to begin your journey is always at dawn, for maximum sunlit hours.
Other tips before traveling
- Always try to travel in the right lane, especially in motorways with more than one lane. Always remember to signal with your indicators before switching lanes.
- If you have a caravan, reduce speed gradually and exercise extreme caution. It is necessary to leave a safe distance between yourself and the car in front.
- If you start your trip at night, check headlights and fog lights. Remember to rest properly and to have a light meal before you sit behind the wheel.
- If you start your trip in the morning, protect your eyes from the sun. It is advisable to wear sunglasses to improve visibility. If it's summer and it's hot, do not forget to take fresh drinks along and use the air conditioning to prevent you from becoming drowsy.
- Avoid carrying luggage out of the boot. Do not put suitcases or bags in the passenger seats as they could cause injury in the event of an accident.
- Try to liven up the road trip, especially if you're travelling with children or teenagers. Look for games or activities that will keep them distracted and relaxed. You can buy a screen designed for the seats so that they can watch a film, or play classic games with them such as Eye Spy, guessing the colour of the next car, and bring along their favourite music.
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