Driving long distances can be exciting and romantic — the ever-changing scenery, the camaraderie of the road trip, and the prospect of new destinations. Sometimes, a long drive can be the only way to get to a remote location. In either case, long-distance driving can be tiring and stressful. In order to deal with some of the stresses of a long car journey, you can take a few preventive measures.

Before leaving for a long journey, make sure that you’ve had something to eat and a good night’s sleep. Don’t make the mistake of overloading on caffeinated drinks; although caffeine can keep you awake and alert, it can also hurt your concentration once its effects wear off and make you jittery.

Before you leave, plan out your route in advance, using a route planner like this one from the RAC. Identify some points along your route where you can stop to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Moving around will help keep you awake and help keep your muscles loose; sitting in one position for a long time can lead to aches and pains.

If possible, find someone to take your drive with you. Not only will the conversation help keep your mind focused and alert, but you can arrange to share driving responsibilities. Breaking up the monotony of a long trip will help make the journey safer and more enjoyable.

Looking after yourself isn’t the only important part of preparing for a long drive; you’ll also need to make sure that your vehicle is in top shape. Be sure that your fuel tank is full and that your car has all the oil and coolant that it needs. Check your tyre pressure as well; soft tyres will cut down on your fuel efficiency.

If you’re hiring a car, the rental agency should already have taken care of these matters for you, but they’ll still be able to help you prepare for your journey. Ask the agency if they have any information that will be useful on your trip — they may often have up-to-date information on local traffic, for instance, or advice about driving in the area. Car agencies like National Car Rental even operate websites with advice on attractions and destinations if you need some tips for your journey.

Another aspect of preparation is knowing the rules you’ll be driving under. If there’s anything you’re uncertain about, you can always check government sites like Think! for information on road safety and traffic laws.

Lastly, preparation matters in the little things, as well. If you want to take snacks and drinks on your journey, stock up beforehand rather than paying expensive roadside prices. Take plenty of water and healthy snacks like fruit or nuts rather than crisps or chocolates; the steady release of energy will help keep you feeling awake and alert.

The secret to coping with a long drive, as with most things, is preparation. Make the right decisions in advance and you’ll have a great journey.

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