Long drives can strain even the best driver's nerves, and driving solo makes a trip that much more difficult. Sometimes, though, there's just no avoiding a long drive by yourself. Even a small accident could affect your auto insurance premium, so make sure you're prepared to take your trip seriously and drive safely.
1. Rest up before you leave
Fatigued driving can be almost as bad as drunk driving, so get a full night's sleep before you leave. Resting up isn't just about sleep though - eat a great meal for dinner and a healthy breakfast the next morning to make sure you have lots of energy throughout your drive.
2. Bring plenty of food and water
Even if you slept a full eight hours the night before and woke up feeling refreshed, you're going to start running out of steam after a few hours. This is a great time to have a healthy snack and a bottle of water. Travel expert Gretchen Breuner told Nationwide Magazine that carrots and almonds are his favorite for a long drive, and we agree. If you skip the fast food and go for light, healthy snacks, you'll find that you have more energy for a longer period of time. Switching out water for soda is particularly important, because while soda tastes refreshing, it can actually dehydrate you.
3. Conserve gas
It costs significantly less to drive 55 miles per hour than to drive 70 miles per hour, according to Independent Traveler. If you're willing to slow down a little, you'll save money on gas, car maintenance, and possibly even speeding tickets, so take your time out there and check out these super simple tips for saving on gas.
4. Stop regularly
Even if you don't need to use the restroom or don't feel hungry, it's important to stop every couple of hours. Moving around a little bit will stimulate your body and mind, helping you stay awake for longer. You'll also avoid the cramps your muscles get when they aren't used for hours on end.
5. Keep yourself entertained
It's easy to get bored driving by yourself, and a bored driver is one that is more likely to fall under 'highway hypnosis.' Stock up on music, make a road trip playlist, or pick up a book on tape. The last one has the added benefit of keeping you invested in a story, which will help you to remain awake and alert - especially if it's a real page turner.
6. Clean your windshield often
When you stop to fill up your tank, take the time to clean your windshield. A cloudy windshield is a potential road hazard. It can reduce visibility, especially at certain sun angles. When you've been on the road for a few hours and your windshield is glazed with bug carcasses and dust, wiper fluid just won't cut it.
7. Sit up straight
Just by sitting up straight in your seat, you'll find that you are more awake and alert. Proper posture helps create good blood flow, and the more blood you can get to your brain the better. If you find yourself getting sleepy behind the wheel, try this: sit up as straight as you can, lower your shoulders and take a couple of deep breaths from your diaphragm. You should find yourself pleasantly awake and clear-headed.
8. Remember your GPS
These days, almost everyone has a GPS. If you don't have a smartphone, consider picking up a GPS navigation system to help you with directions. You won't have to look away from the road to fuss with a large paper map and you'll hopefully be less frustrated in unfamiliar areas.
If you follow these tips, you're in for a safe, relaxing drive. The safer you are, the lower you auto insurance quote will be - so take care every time you get behind the wheel!