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Road Trip Planner: How to stay safe and alert on long journeys

14 Sep 2012 at 10:34

Now the summer is over, many are returning to work and once again

But if there’s a long drive involved, it’s important to keep safe, protecting you and your vehicle’s occupants from any undue risk taking. That means planning and preparation.

Here are the RAC’s top tips for staying safe while munching the miles:

  • Modern cars are equipped with driving aids making motoring much easier. Cruise control, for example, makes it easy to avert your attention elsewhere, maybe to your cars infotainment system. Don’t. Keep your focus on the road 100% of the time.
  • If your concentration is waning, take a break. You should plan regular rest and refuelling stops in advance, especially if traffic is likely to be heavy (you can do this by checking traffic news) – there’s nothing worse for stress levels or engines than sitting in a queue with the fuel warning light illuminated.
  • Get as much rest as possible the night before a long journey. If you feel tired behind the wheel, stop. Have a coffee and a short (20 minute) nap. Don’t rely on energy drinks and caffeine to get you through: you might feel better in the short term, but this short-term spike soon wears off. If there’s a long way to go, find somewhere for a proper sleep.
  • Make your own food – motorway service station fare is pricey. You can still use their facilities, but you can then find a more suitable and relaxing spot for a bite to eat just off the motorway.
  • Plan ahead with games for children to keep them occupied or involved. Repeatedly being asked “are we there yet?” can spark short tempers and snappy remarks, upsetting the mood and holiday spirit. Check out our // top 10 car games // and //top 10 apps to entertain the kids // for more ideas.
  • Share the driving if possible – while your co-driver is behind the wheel, it gives you the chance to relax and get some rest without having to stop to do so, getting you to your destination quicker.