How to tackle longer journeys
When drivers prepare to set off on longer journeys or road trips, one thing they should be planning for is changed driving conditions. You may have become accustomed to short trips, grid-locked traffic, advanced road networks and limited time spent driving in bad weather. This, however, is unlikely to be the same for a long-distance trip and one should be prepared accordingly.
A FULL LOAD
The car will likely be fully loaded with luggage and passengers and you may even be towing a trailer or caravan. This changes various aspects of driving:
Your power and manoeuvrability will be reduced.
It will take longer to stop, requiring bigger following distances.
Children watching movies in the back or getting rowdy may present more distractions. Ensure you have enough activities to keep the kids entertained throughout.
Avoid reducing visibility with luggage and pay extra attention to blind spots, mirrors and using the indicator.
Driving on quieter roads in remote areas is more enjoyable than grid-locked traffic, but it still has its own challenges. Keep the following in mind:
Your are likely to encounter more trucks. Do not pressure them to drive in the yellow lane if it is not safe.
Do not let frustration with slower moving traffic cause you to make a dangerous overtaking pass.
Keep an extra eye open for hazards such as potholes, cyclists, animals or pedestrians as you near towns.
When you return to roads with a higher density, do not lose your cool because you get frustrated with grid-locked traffic and other stressed drivers.
If there are bad weather conditions when you leave, you will be stuck in the car longer than you would be on your usual commutes. Follow these tips to stay safe:
If visibility is severely reduced, stop at a petrol station or another safe place for refreshments and give the weather some time to clear up.
Increase following distances in all adverse weather conditions.
Switch your headlights on. Do not switch them onto bright in fog, where lights on bright can reflect off the fog.
Take regular breaks as this driving requires more concentration. As a rough guide, plan to stop every two hours.
Many routes require you to drive through mountain passes. This is what you should do: Stay hydrated on high mountain passes to avoid altitude sickness.
Take regular breaks as driving is often more strenuous. Pull over at a safe place and enjoy the view.
Be careful that the scenery does not distract you so much that you drive dangerously.
Increase following distance, as sudden stops can be more common.
Hugging the centre line can be dangerous on curves.
Ensure you have more than enough space when you pass vehicles on the ascent, as your vehicle’s power will be considerably reduced.
Allow for broken-down vehicles. Be cautious when negotiating bends through which the road ahead is not visible.
Your holiday is just as much about the journey as the destination. Endeavour to enjoy the trip so that you arrive feeling calm and ready to start the holiday on a positive note.