A ‘long distance’ trip is normally one that is 300 kilometres long, or more than three hours long.
Planning a successful road trip is not as simple as it may sound. You must ensure that you have packed everything that will be needed and you will have to double-check if your vehicle is capable of a long drive.
With so many beautiful long-distance holiday locations in South Africa, it is very important for you and your family to stay safe on the road.
Road trips are exciting, but you must be prepared for any emergency. Knowing this, you may be asking yourself how to prepare your car for a road trip. Luckily, there are a few easy precautions you can take to avoid any unpleasant car issues along the way.
We cover 7 long-distance driving tips that will help you hit the road with confidence.
Plan ahead of time
Make sure you know where you're heading. This will make your drive relaxed and more fun. Plan the route and roads you will be taking by using your GPS or maps. It's also crucial to know where you will be able to stop for fuel, food, restroom breaks, and safe rest stops along your journey. Make sure the road you're taking is drivable and in good working order. Looking at the weather reports for the areas that you will be driving to so you know what to expect on the road is also important. For more safety, maintain contact with someone at your destination throughout your journey to ensure that they are aware of your whereabouts all the time. Additionally make sure your car is fuelled, checked and ready to go.
Sleep the night before you leave
Fatigue on the open road is very dangerous, so make sure to get a decent night's sleep before you depart. If you will be leaving early in the morning, ensure you go to bed earlier than your normal time to ensure that you receive enough sleep before your trip. Avoid consuming alcohol or any other intoxicants the day before you leave, as this can result in fatigue and falling asleep while driving.
Take breaks every two hours or 200 km
For a long-distance drive, stopping every two hours or 200 kilometres is recommended. Stop to refuel, eat something, use the restroom, or simply stretch your legs. Taking breaks will give you a boost till you get to your next stop.
Share the drive
You will be less likely to get sleepy behind the wheel if you can share the driving with someone else. It is recommended that one should not drive more than a total of 10 hours in one day.
Dress for comfort in the car
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and bring a pillow if your back hurts when you're driving for long periods. Before leaving the house, apply sunscreen and reapply every two hours. Driving throughout the day often exposes your arms and legs to direct sunlight for an extended time, and even if you don't feel the sun on your skin through the windows, especially if they are tinted, you still risk becoming sunburned.
Eat light and stay hydrated
Heavy meals or fast food are not advised in the car. You will feel bloated and uneasy after eating them. At regular intervals, eat snacks and small portions of healthy food. Stay hydrated by drinking water.
Obey the rules of the road
Driving demands your undivided attention, particularly when travelling long distances. Cellphones, rowdy toddlers in the back seat, or eating while driving are all distractions. Importantly, stick to the speed limit, avoid reckless overtaking, and make sure that everyone in the car is properly buckled up. Finally, be courteous to other drivers and enjoy your journey.