When I got my driving license, I had no idea that my life will turn out to be lived on the road. I remember my first independent drive in the city. Actually, I was standing in a huge traffic jam on the hillside and cursing the world with all the swear words I managed to remember. Driving was hard back then 🙂
A few days ago I had to drive back from the Netherlands to Lithuania. GPS showed 17-hour trip. It was definitely not the first time I drive such distance, however, trips that long always require accurate planning and preparation. If I can I prefer not to do it alone. Even if you trust your car 100%, there’s always human error factor. Your confidence as a very good driver can always be overrated 🙂 Or something might simply happen on the way. So it is always a good idea have the second driver. Since all the researches on driving state the same: driving tired is as much dangerous as driving drunk.
Yet if I have to drive alone long distance, I always plan a sleepover somewhere in the middle of the distance. For example, last time when I was driving to Vienna (which is 11 hours from my home), I stopped in Warsaw to have a rest. To say the truth, I believe that trying to drive alone more than 7-8 hours is a suicide. Of course, probably you will make it out without dying 🙂 Yet from the 7th hour, your body starts to slow down and lose concentration. (which is pretty important on the road) So, what is the point of risking?
So how did I managed that 17-hour drive? Well, I am happy to have amazing friends all over the world :). This time my savior was Juozas Bernotas Lithuanian Olympic windsurfer. We had three drivers and two cars, so we decided that there is no need to stop for a sleepover. Two drivers were driving 5-6 hours while the third one was comfortably sleeping in the back of the van. Also, we stopped to rest and stretch every 2-3 hours.
I was observing my body reactions very carefully while driving. Even if for a short period of time I started to dream or feel drowsy, I stopped the car. No point in pushing yourself. I was lucky enough because as the only female driver in the company I didn’t get to drive the hardest time – around 1-4 a.m. Then human body temperature is lower and people are naturally drowsy. I always had water with me and some snacks, like nuts or baby carrots. I know some people who chew chewing gum, but since I don’t like it, I replace it with gummy bears.
Talking about food, while driving long distances, there is a very big temptation to eat junk food. It is not only fast but easy to get on the road and comfy to eat while driving. I really do not see anything bad in that – let’s just say whatever serves the purpose, right? But fast food does not provide needed energy. After a burger, your body naturally gets drowsy… So if you want to maintain high energy levels, I suggest eating apples, bananas, oranges or other high energy foods.
And last but not the least important thing while driving long distance – music. Your favorite music that energizes and lifts you up is essential. Singing together with the music also keeps you awake and concentrated. So go ahead, sing and have some fun even if you still have 5000 km left ahead of you. In the end, it all comes down to the joy you are experiencing and even long distance drives can be fun.
I still remember very clearly my best long-distance drive. It was the legendary Highway nr. 1. Even though sometimes driving conditions were very poor because of heavy rains and our crew was very tired because of a long time spent on the road. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Nature around, fairy-tale like landscape, good music… – all made this experience feel like magic.
So, my dear friends, there is no need to be afraid of long distance drives. If you learn how to handle them, next time when you suddenly find yourself on the Highway nr. 1, you will be ready to enjoy every single moment of it.