Long Distance Driving Safety Tips

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Poor preparation and fatigue are common causes of stress and can even result in careless driving.  Many people try to complete their journey as quick as possible and without realizing, are risking theirs and other driver’s lives. Sound preparation and taking a break when drowsiness takes hold can make the long distance drive more enjoyable and safe.

Car Preparation Tips

A quick checklist of car preparation can avoid the dreaded scenario of breaking down and awaiting assistance.

Tyres – Check the tyre treads, legally they have to be at least 1.6mm although it’s recommended at least 3mm for optimum driving and safety. The tyre pressure should also be checked as even slight deflation can affect the handling of the vehicle. Passenger numbers and luggage can affect tyre pressure and should be checked once the car is loaded.

Fluids – Water coolant/anti-freeze should be topped up before setting off to prevent overheating or freezing of the car. Oil levels often get neglected too, it’s worth taking some spare oil too in case levels run low.

General Check – Lights should be checked and replaced if any aren’t in good working order. The lack of lighting could affect driving, particular in night time or foggy conditions. Windscreen wipers should be checked to see if they’re split or worn and packing a spare pair could come in handy.

Driver Alertness Tips

Once the car is ship-shape and shiny it’s time to hit the road. Remaining alert when driving is essential to avoid delayed reaction times and low concentration levels which can have fatal consequences.

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Energy levels can wreak havoc with driver concentration. Many people believe coffee and other stimulants can help driving, which is true for a very short time. However, such stimulants can cause a sudden slump in energy levels following the high. It can also make falling asleep harder, even when tired. A sound sleep is important before driving so caffeine and high sugar foods should be avoided for long distance drives.

Water and foods which are protein rich can help to keep mood and energy levels steady. Drinking a considerable amount of water will also increase the number of toilet breaks required, which is a great excuse to take regular breaks.

A break or nap should be taken when the following symptoms begin to kick in:

  • Persistent yawning and feelings of fatigue
  • Stiffness of the joints
  • Heaviness of the eyes

A break as simple as a 10 minute walk in the fresh air can increase energy levels and alertness. Noting down B&B’s and service station hotels along the route can be useful for if delays occur, postponing schedule and requiring an overnight stay before reaching the destination.