Tips for Long Drives

Truckers know roads. We know long drives. So if you are planning a long trip, there is nobody better to get advice from than those of us for doing it for a living.

First things first: make sure the vehicle you’re taking is going to handle all those miles. Make sure the tires are OK and you’ve got a spare. Think about keeping a gas can in the back along with a blanket, a flare or some reflectors, as well as some water and a couple of granola bars or something in case you get stuck. Kitty litter is a good thing to carry with you too, in case you get stuck and need something to help you get some traction to get you back on the road.

Another thing to do before you go is to plan your route. I know you have a gps in your phone. But what if you run into a dead zone? Guess what – you are lost! Think about printing directions or even getting an actual map for the route as well. Check the weather along your route. Plan where you are going to stop and make sure they will have the things you need: if there’s gas, somewhere you’ll be willing to eat, someplace to stay if that’s what you’ll need. Think about where the big cities are that you’ll have to drive through and when you’ll likely hit them. Then you can think about driving around them when you have to or stopping for a meal (or even the night) when you get there to avoid stop and go traffic.

I also recommend packing and loading the vehicle in a smart way. Don’t just play Tetris with it all and shove it in the trunk. If you’re going on a road trip that takes four days, think about whether you want to lug your big suitcase out of the car every single night. If you won’t need some items until your destination, pack that in a different bag and put it at the bottom, in the back, so it isn’t in your way the rest of the time.

Once you’re on the road, remember that there is no reason to do it all at once. If you wanted to get there quickly, you should have bought a plane ticket. Driving takes effort and energy. Don’t wait until you are desperate for a break to stop. Most long-haul drivers will only go about three to four hours without stopping before they take a short break.

And speaking of breaks, if you’re looking for a place to stop and eat, think like a trucker. Fast food works if you need a quick bite or something familiar. When you want somewhere that you can actually sit down  – look for a place where all the rigs are. We know the good places. Find the trucks, you find the good eats. And If you’re nowhere near a motel or hotel and need to close your eyes for a while, find a well-lit, nicely trafficked lot to park in. Aim for somewhere like a Wal-Mart or a truck stop, like we do.

Stay safe, drive smart, and good luck!