Driving on the highway is one of the best things to do if you want to enjoy some time for yourself. There are many reasons for this, but there are a few that stand out more than others.
For starters, long-distance drives can be a fantastic experience because it lets you see so much more of what’s around you than normal roads will allow. This might seem like a trivial benefit at first glance. But research has shown that people who take long-distance drives have increased creativity and problem-solving skills due to being exposed to new places and perspectives.
The idea behind this is that the human brain processes information differently when it’s in different environments. By going somewhere wholly different from your own home or usual surroundings, your brain will work harder to process the new information. Therefore, your brain solves the problems it encounters due to constant stimulation.
But how do you prepare for long-distance trips? Here are a few tips you can follow:
Get Your Vehicle in Top Shape
Your car, pickup, or RV is your home on the road, so of course, you must take care of your vehicle before setting off on any long drive. Ensure you do all these things before setting off:
- Wash and clean your car thoroughly to remove any dirt or grit caught in moving parts of the engine or wheels
- Change your oil if it’s time to do so
- Check tire pressure
- Make sure there are no cracks or holes in your windshield that can impair your visibility or affect cabin temperature
- Check for anything stuck in the headlights/taillights that can affect visibility
Pack an Emergency Kit
You never know when you might break down on the road. As such, make sure to pack an emergency kit with you in the trunk of your vehicle that will allow you to handle most problems if they come up while you’re driving. Your kit must include:
- a spare tire and a jack;
- jumper cables and a boost battery charger;
- tools for changing tires and making minor repairs;
- first aid kit with gloves and antiseptic wipes;
- spare blankets, food, water, flashlights/lanterns, and extra batteries for your equipment;
- roadside flares or reflective triangles (for use if you break down at night); and
- a shovel for removing snow
Plan for Stops and Breaks
If driving alone, it’s a good idea to plan for breaks and stops ahead of time to avoid getting too tired while on the trip. To keep those creative juices flowing, try stopping at places where you can do some exploring or sightseeing as well as eat and sleep if necessary.
If traveling with others, it’s best to try and enjoy each other’s company for as long as you can instead of sticking to your own devices. But if this isn’t possible, try having an open line of communication about what everyone needs or wants to do. For example, someone might want to stop regularly while others don’t, so make sure everyone knows the plan ahead of time.
Have Emergency Numbers to Call
There’s no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to long-distance driving. Make sure you have all the emergency numbers on your phone so that help is only a few taps away in case of an emergency. Tell a trusted loved one or friend where you plan on going for the drive so they know how to get in contact with you if necessary.
Having numbers to the police, a doctor, and a lawyer will go a long way. You might encounter someone who needs help along the road, or you might find yourself in a situation where you need to contact one of these professionals. It’s not a bad thing to have an experienced defense lawyer on speed dial in case you get into any legal trouble along the way.
Prepare Food and Supplies
When traveling for several hours on end, it’s best to pack what you need before hitting the road. While some people might find that stopping every couple of hours helps them stay more alert while driving, others prefer just to keep going until they know they’re in a safe space for resting. Here are some ways you can do to prepare supplies:
- Prepare food ahead of time so that there are no last-minute stops that can be too tiring.
- Bring water, snacks, and high-energy foods to keep your energy levels up.
- Pack light so you don’t have to stop often just to unpack and repack the vehicle for supplies, if necessary
If Traveling with Kids, Bring Entertainment
Consider stopping at rest areas with playgrounds, restaurants, or maybe even a place where children can run around for a bit. It’s also advisable to make pit stops every two to three hours if you’re bringing your kids along for the trip. That way, they stay well-rested and energized throughout the drive.
If you plan on driving for several days or weeks at a time, make sure to check in with loved ones or friends regularly. That way, they know you’re safe. Just remember that being prepared for the unexpected is what makes any long-distance drive easier and safer for everyone involved, so have fun out there!