“Highway hypnosis” is quite common when travelers haven’t prepared for the endurance demands of an extended haul. Picture: Red Bull Content Pool

Planning to go away over the Easter period? It’s best to take the necessary steps to prepare for long drives before you get behind the wheel - and to stay alert and energised throughout your trip.

“Highway hypnosis” is quite common when travelers haven’t prepared for the endurance demands of an extended haul.

These tips for long drives will help you down the road:

1. Get some rest

It’s best to consider exhaustion before you begin your journey, not during. Get at least seven hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before the road trip to fill your energy reserves.

2. Fuel up

We’re talking about fuel for you, not your car. Carrying along a variety of vitamin-packed, healthy foods will allow you to get by on smaller snacks. “Try packing your own snacks as healthy alternatives are often limited en route. Go for low GI snacks that will allow for a more sustained energy release. Eg: some cut up fresh veg with hummus, nuts, biltong, date balls or some whole grain toast with nut butter.” Says dietician Mariella Dierks. Keep your water supply well-stocked and energy drinks to give you a boost. 

3. Strategise your stops

It is crucial to get out of your car and stretch your legs every two hours or so, so make sure to plan these stops into your long distance drive- whether they are timed around mealtimes, interesting places to buy a souvenir or a place to capture picture-perfect views.

4. Use good scents

Peppermint scents have a pleasant, all-natural pick-me-up that has been shown to reduce fatigue and increase alertness.

5. Sit up straight

Make sure your seat is adjusted properly for your body, tilted for maximum blood flow. If you start feeling sluggish- sit up, take a deep breath and make sure do keep this up along the way.

6. Ensure you’re entertained

Long drives—especially with kids—can often lead to aggravation among passengers and in turn, leads to driver fatigue. Make sure children are entertained with books, puzzles etc. Have a good music system in place and a playlist of your favourite tunes. 

7. Take shifts

If you’re going to be driving for most of the day and you’re traveling with other licensed drivers, then why not share the load? One of you can play DJ, while the other concentrates on the road ahead.