While road trips can be fun, the reality is that long-distance drives are often tiring and fraught experiences.
No one knows that better than long-haul drivers – truckers and lorry drivers could probably write the manual but since there isn’t one as yet, here are a few tips for those planning to drive a long way soon.
1. Get enough rest prior to the trip
You need to be well-rested before you start a long drive; resist the urge to stay up and if you need to get a really early night, do so.
If you want to avoid being kept up by worry, do all your planning and packing days in advance so you do not have anything to do or think about last minute.
2. Let go of your expectations…about other drivers
Getting angry at other drivers for infractions real or imagined is counter-productive. Stop expecting other people to follow the rules – anticipate situations where people run stop signs or traffic lights for instance.
Being overemotional on the road will just stress you and it could even affect the quality of your own driving.
3. Take it easy on the caffeine and sugar, eat healthy instead
While it’s convenient and tempting to just eat fast food on the road or load up on candy, it could be very detrimental. A sugar crash could leave you unable to focus on the road and fast food is the equivalent of putting poor quality unrefined fuel into your car.
Think healthier alternatives: sandwiches, for instance, are easy to make and pack and fruit is a better choice of snack than M&MS or chips.
4. Take scheduled breaks
Resist the urge to drive long stretches at a time without adequate rest, just to try and make good time. The best thing is to do is schedule your breaks, setting alarms if necessary.
Anytime you feel tired, however, you should take a break as soon as you can – even if it’s not the scheduled time.
5. Don’t be afraid to nap
Take short, 20-minute naps to keep you refreshed. They’re just long enough to help stave off sleepiness on the road, while not being too long that you feel lethargic.
Make sure you choose a safe place to stop, such as designated rest stops.
6. Be wary of emergency lanes
Unfortunately, there are Malaysians who deliberately misuse the emergency lane – either using them to try to get ahead or to go the wrong way (particularly common with motorcycles). If you do stop in an emergency lane, be on the alert for rogue emergency lane abusers.
7. Have emergency resources at hand
Make sure you have the numbers of emergency services, and toll helplines. Have jumper cables, battery water, as well as a car jack (if possible) ready to lessen the time needed to get your car going in case of the usual car issues.
To summarise, be aware of your surroundings and take care of yourself. Take your time and, as the saying goes, enjoy the ride.
If you are not a lorry driver, here’s how you should drive around heavy vehicles.