The timeless road trip has inspired some of the greatest stories ever told. From Kerouac’s “On The Road” to Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” we all feel inspired by the epic long-distance drive.
As your engine wheezes at the side of the road, you suddenly realise that unlike the iconic characters, your journey has reached its limits – and so have you.
So, how do you prepare for long-distance driving? Here’s our guide to keeping you and your motor running:
Plan your journey
There’s a reason why the “take a break, tiredness can kill” signs are dotted up and down the country’s main roads. Few of us can function straight with minimal sleep, let alone navigate some of the driving terrains that the UK and beyond has to offer. So, plan ahead of your journey.
Figure out your route, and any stops you want to make along the way and where you intend to end your drive. Make sure you consider how far your vehicle can get you before needing to fill up too.
If you don’t think your car is up for long-distance driving, it may be worth considering a new vehicle for the journey. Take a look at our financing options to get you behind the wheel.
Driving long distances isn’t for the faint-hearted. Having a travel buddy along for the ride who can take over behind the wheel for any portion of the drive is worth considering.
With your concentration in overdrive, and your ability to stay alert compromised, share the load with someone else. It’s in everybody’s interest that you and your carload are safe.
Packing road trip essentials is always a good start for any journey. From having essential documents like your driving license and insurance details to hand, you may save yourself any potential embarrassment when you are far from home.
If your journey is taking you even further afield, consider checking out your insurance details and what they cover well in advance to setting off.
Other essentials include:
- Sat-nav: there’s no point driving around blind after all. Not only can your sat-nav get you from A to B, but it can also point out service stations and remind you of the speed limit
- Road map: a backup for if technology fails
- First Aid Kit: a simple kit that includes plasters, antiseptic cream and bandages is an excellent addition to any journey
- Torch: perfect for checking inside your bonnet or under your car
- Loose change: parking change and to keep you toll road-ready
- Relevant stickers: Stick a GB sticker or invest in an EU registration plate to make overseas travel easier. If you are in an EU country, you have to display a GB sticker to travel
Be motor ready
Crucial to any long-distance driving is the pre-journey vehicle checkup before you set off.
Make sure to fill your tank. If you are travelling to a remote location, adding a jerry can to your boot is a good addition.
Other essential checks to consider are:
- Engine oil – make sure you have filled your oil pan up to the maximum line – using your dipstick to check the levels. If you need to do an oil change, check your vehicle’s manual for guidance
- Screenwash – again, fill to the maximum line
- Tyre pressure – check with your manual for exact pressures. Also, make sure your tyres aren’t showing too many signs of wear. Your tyre tread depth should be a minimum of 1.6mm
- Check all your lights are working – heads, reverse, fog, indicators etc.
- Brakes – make sure they aren’t spongey, squeaky or grinding. If they are get them checked out in advance
It’s worth storing extra oil, screenwash and any other fluids (coolant, brake etc.) in your boot.
Even if you have meticulously planned out your journey, packing food and drink is going to make your drive more comfortable. Having some mints or chewing gum to keep you focused is also worth considering.
Here are our favourite long-distance extras:
- Warm clothes – early morning or late night travelling is usually much colder than the day. So, pack your favourite jumper to keep you warm. Having a spare raincoat, walking boots or wellies in the boot. They may come in handy for any roadside wanderings or potential breakdowns
- Sunglasses – avoid the dazzling sun by putting on some shades
- Sun cream and toiletries – you never know when you are going to need some hand gel or toilet roll to keep you going
- Driving soundtrack – having a playlist or some background music is essential for keeping you happy behind the wheel!
Are you prepared to be behind the wheel? Get ahead of your journey and plan to keep you safe and comfortable on the road.