Whilst there are many definite perks to a good road trip, there are also several risks inherent in those long distance drives. It’s all very well trying to save money on a holiday by driving down to the south of France, but if you then spend your whole week away cowering on the sofa with a bad back then it almost becomes not worth the time. That’s why we’ve put together this article detailing five tips that are ideal for helping you survive those longer journeys.
Stretch your muscles out. Admittedly, this might seem a bit strange, and the children might be a little confused as to exactly why dad or mum are acting like they’re warming up for the FA cup final. However, it’s important to ensure that you don’t drive long journeys ‘cold’, as the unusual posture you’ll be seated in can lead to pain along the back as a result of the shortness of the hamstrings. Stretch your whole back out, as well as your legs, and you’ll be far less likely to do yourself an injury.
Don’t overdo the caffeine. Whilst conducting any form of long journey, it can be tempting to simply mainline Red Bull into your eyeballs in order to stay awake. However, on longer journeys this can actually be damaging to your chances of going the distance, because your blood sugar levels will be constantly peaking and crashing. Rather than necking black coffee, go for a milder drink such as a sprinkling of glucose powder in a bottle of made-up squash. This will also keep you rehydrated and stop the risk of headaches.
Eat something regularly. Obviously, we’re not condoning a roast dinner every half hour, but it’s important that your body receives a steady (smallish) dose of carbs every two hours or so. Like the avoidance of caffeine, this will ensure that your blood sugar remains level and doesn’t spike. It’s for this reason that sweets are popular on long journeys, as well as oat and cereal bars. Just don’t scoff them all in the first ten minutes!
Keep your water levels up. It’s a well known fact that during the 24 hour Le Mans race, a driver will drink as much as five litres of water in order to keep himself operating to the max. A car’s air conditioning can actually cause dehydration over longer journeys, so you should look to take in between 150 and 250ml per hour in order to keep yourself at the optimum hydration levels.
Keep the lights dimmed. Driving at night is tough, but on longer journeys it’s simply something that you’re going to have to deal with. Ensure that you dim your lights during the dark hours in order to minimise glare for both yourself and other drivers, and try to swap driver once every 90 minutes or so until the sun comes back up. Also, avoid large meals as these are far more likely to make you drift off, due to the amount of energy your body has to use in order to digest them.
Charly Daniels is a freelance writer working in association with fibreglass experts Stuart Pease Ltd.