Whether you’re road tripping across the country, or just visiting family in a faraway town, driving long distances should always be approached with care and planning.
Next time you plan a trip:
• Fight Fatigue
Driving to your holiday destination isn’t the same as the routine of dropping your kids off at school or making a quick trip to the supermarket.
Don’t underestimate the effect of fatigue, drowsiness and decreasing alertness on your driving abilities.
Be aware of unfamiliar roads, the effects of long hours behind the wheel, the switch between day- and night time driving, and the added pressure of a family impatient to get to its destination.
• Take caution when driving at night
It might save you from peak time traffic, but don’t forget that almost half of road accidents occur at night.
So, if you have to drive at night, make sure your car is prepared: clean headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows are elementary necessities for safe night-time driving.
Your headlights should be aimed properly so they illuminate the road correctly and don’t blind other drivers.
Reduce your speed and increase your following distance when driving at night. Remember that it is more difficult to judge other vehicles’ speed and distance at night.
• Plan ahead
Planning rest and stop-over points will help break your journey down into realistic, manageable drives that get you to your destination safely and relaxed.
It’s a fact that drivers who don’t plan rest stops often push themselves just that little bit extra to drive another few kilometres, and that’s when the risks start to increase.
If in doubt, remember these top tips:
• Begin your journey well rested. Have a good night’s sleep before you set off.
• Respect your biorhythm. Depart at a time when your body is used to being awake and active.
• Don’t drink any alcohol before departure.
• Avoid any medication that may make you drowsy.
• Avoid peak departure times.
• Take regular breaks. Rest immediately when you feel signs of fatigue. Go for a short walk.
• Avoid heat build-up in the car. Research has shown that high temperatures have the same effect as a blood alcohol level of 0.5.
Got any more tips for us? Share them in the comment box below.