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8 Practical Tips for Long Journeys

8 Practical Tips for Long Journeys

Even if you’ve been behind the wheel for years, it can still be a little challenging to drive long distances. It can be physically and mentally exhausting to sit for hours, all while being mindful of your speed, keeping an eye on your surroundings, and paying attention to your car’s condition.

To make long journeys easier, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Make Sure Your Car Is In Good Condition

Before you pack your bags for your long-awaited trip, you need to make sure your vehicle is in excellent shape first. Prioritise checking the battery, lights, and brakes. It would be better if you have a fresh battery, but a well-maintained one will definitely have a few problems along the way. The lights should all be working, but most especially your headlights, brake lights, and signal lights. For the brakes, buy brake pads if they’re worn; the same goes for the rotors. You don’t want to be driving long distances with bad brakes—that’s a recipe for disaster.

Check Your Tires

You may have noticed that tires weren’t included in the previous section and that’s because they need more than just a passing mention. Your car’s tires play a big role in getting you to your destination, so they have to be in tip-top shape.

The first thing you need to do is to check the treads. These provide you with road traction and also channel away water for improved grip during rainy weather. Get new tires ASAP if the tread wear indicators are flush with the level of the tread. (The tread wear indicators are bars located in the middle of the tread. They’re also often indicated with arrows on the sidewall and labelled with the initials TWI.)

You should also ensure that the tires are properly inflated. Going over or under the recommended psi can damage both the tire and the wheel, as well as increase the risk of punctures or blowouts. Over- or under-inflated tires can also affect ride quality. Finally, before going on a road trip, go to your trusted auto shop and have your tires aligned and balanced.

Learn How to Change a Tire

Despite your best efforts, you still can’t guarantee that your trip will go without a hitch. There are plenty of mishaps that can happen, including getting a flat tire (for whatever reason). Thus, beyond just having a spare tire in the boot, it’s a good idea to learn how to change a tire. This will give you peace of mind and a bit more confidence, knowing that you can deal with this type of road emergency.

Top Up the Fluids (and Bring Extras)

Your car doesn’t just run on fuel; it also needs other kinds of fluids, such as engine oil, brake fluid, and coolant. There’s also the clutch and power steering fluid, not to mention the windshield washer. Make sure that all of these are sufficiently topped up before going on your journey. Bring an extra bottle of coolant and some distilled water if the weather’s a bit hot, so you’re prepared in case of an overheat.

Prepare an Emergency Tool Kit and First Aid Bag

As previously mentioned, no matter how prepared you might think you are, there’s no way to be 100% sure that you won’t have any accidents whenever you drive. Thus, it’s best to have an emergency tool kit in your car with all the essentials. These include screwdrivers, pliers, a jack, a tire wrench, and a flashlight. You also need a reflective warning triangle, as well as fire extinguishers.

For your first aid kit, prepare all over-the-counter medicines for headaches, fever, nausea, and allergies. If someone has motion sickness, bring the appropriate medication as well. Don’t forget to adhesive bandages, gauze, medical tape, antiseptic wipes, cotton swabs, and burn ointment.

Allocate Time for Breaks

If you’re driving for three hours or more, plan ahead so you can allocate some stops to take a break and stretch. Do this every two hours so you don’t end up with stiff legs and joints. For efficiency, schedule the breaks during meal hours. You can even squeeze in some sightseeing so you can also let your brain take a bit of a rest.

Don’t Overload Your Car

When you overload your vehicle, the engine will have to work harder and thus consume more fuel. It can also affect the pressure of the tires and even make it more difficult for you to control your car. It’s understandable to be excited for a trip, but put your packrat tendencies aside and bring only those items you’re sure you’re going to need.

Clean Your Car

Last but certainly not least, for a pleasant driving experience, clean your car before the trip. Remove the clutter, wash the exteriors, change the seat covers, and vacuum the floors. If you have the time, have the air cabin filter cleaned as well. This way, you and your passengers will be more comfortable while on the road.

 

Have a happy and safe trip!

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