There’s nothing like the feeling of hitting the open road, and with that in mind, here are ten top tips for long-distance solo driving, to make sure you reach your destination safely and on time.
- Plan in Advance
You should never embark on a long journey without planning it in one way or another. That might not mean plotting your exact route, but give some thought to where you want to end up, where you will stay overnight, and when you expect to return home.
- Stock the Car
It’s sensible to have some emergency rations in your car just in case, so make sure you have plenty of bottled water to keep you hydrated on a long drive, and a source of energy too if you’re likely to miss mealtimes while behind the wheel.
- The Tune-Up
Your car itself should obviously be in a good state of repair, and especially if you don’t normally drive it over long distances, check the tyre pressure, oil level and so on – and make sure the spare tyre is in good condition.
- Tell a Friend
There’s no shame in letting somebody know that you’ll be away for the day, the weekend, or even longer. It only takes a moment to tell someone your plans, and can save the people close to you from worrying.
- Fuel Up
If you want to drive as far as possible without interruption, make sure you have a full tank of petrol. If you’re planning to run a little lower to improve fuel efficiency, know where you have the chance to fill up again.
- Drive Safe
If you want to push your car to its limits, take it to a test track. On the open road, especially over long distances, keep within the correct speed for the conditions.
- Take Breaks
Some people can drive for hours without losing concentration, while others need regular rest stops to clear their head – just make sure you know what works for you.
Even more important than pulling over from time to time is the need to sleep. Nobody can go days without sleep and still concentrate – and it only takes moment of closed eyes for a very serious accident to occur.
- Listen to your Car
Once you’re underway, don’t assume everything will be fine throughout your journey, and don’t break down in the middle of nowhere. If your car is behaving unusually, pull over somewhere and get it checked out – it might need more attention than you think, but it’s better to get it looked at before you drive out into the remote countryside.
- Know What’s Ahead
Finally, do what you can to be prepared for the later stages of your journey, whether that means checking the next day’s weather forecast or for any roadworks – these often take place overnight and at weekends, so long-distance drivers can bear the brunt of their disruption.