Naturally, you’ll want to love driving, if you’re going to do a road trip alone. Driving for long hours can be physically taxing especially when you’re the only driver but the compensation is that you can listen to any radio station or audio book, take any detour you want, change your schedule on a whim… the list goes on. If long-distance driving is something you enjoy, or you’re just a victim of an unfrtunate long distance situation this list is for you.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to 36 events annually and one person arrives safely to each of those events is Hendrick Motorsports employee, Dave Radney. Radney is no stranger to long trips across the country. He drives thousands of miles a year, from city to city, all across the country with Hendrick Motorsports.
Here are top 4 expert tips for driving long distances from Radney.
According to Radney, while in a long drive you should take the proper break to re-energize yourself. He says, “The biggest thing on the road is staying alert.” He also says, “Fatigue can be a big problem on long hauls, so we frequently take breaks. We can drive 11 hours on a 14-hour day, so taking a lot of breaks is an important way in helping us stay alert during those long drives.”
Frequent breaks from the car allow a driver to stretch and move, which can also help to avoid fatigue on the road.
“As a driver, you never want to get into a zone where you’re experiencing aches from sitting in the same seat for 500 miles. It’s very important to take breaks, walk around, and do your exercises outside to help stay alert.”
2. Stay Focused
Repetitive scenery is very tiresome on the eyes. Depending on where you’re driving, you may encounter repetitive scenery like endless fields or long stretches of flat roads. In those instances, it’s important for your mind to stay focused and not wander.
“I listen to a lot of country music and have a lot of bad karaoke sessions in the truck,” says Radney. “We see a lot of this beautiful country on the roads we travel, so it’s pretty easy to be entertained.”
3. Share the Road and Drive around Big Vehicles
You share the road with many different types of vehicles when driving across the country. For a commercial vehicle, the maximum gross vehicle weight is 80,000 pounds, so when you’re driving around one of these in your passenger vehicle, there are some behaviors you should consider integrating to safely share the road with them.
“The front right of the truck or the passenger side are definitely really bad blind spots,” according to Radney. “If you’re driving by a truck on the road and can’t look up into the truck’s driver side mirror and see the driver themselves, they can’t see you.”
4. Plan Ahead
It is very smart to plan ahead and be prepared for the unexpected. The last thing you want is to find yourself stranded on the side of the highway, unprepared.
“Depending on the places you’re driving and the weather conditions you may encounter, there are a lot of different safety kits that you can buy to keep in your car,” says Radney. “You should always have those kits plus a first aid kit, flashlights, blankets, candles, water and food.”