If you like driving, you’re probably the kind of person who becomes giddy every time there’s an opportunity to do a long drive. And we can’t blame you for that. Being on the road, behind the wheel, for hours on end, is truly a nice experience. It’s akin to meditation. You get to quiet your mind. It’s just you and the passing sceneries outside, without a care in the world. It’s like yoga without you having to break bones and strain muscles.
Long drives are also great for your car. It will allow your car’s exhaust system and engine to release any carbon buildup. That’s something that happens if you’re always stuck in traffic, driving bumper-to-bumper.
Before you take your car out for a long drive, you need to make the necessary preparations. Here are some items that should be on your to-do list.
Take your car to a mechanic
Sure you can look after your car yourself. But that’s for short drives. For long drives, you need the expertise of a car mechanic.
You might need oil and filter change. That will set you back between $20 and $100. That price should already cover multipoint inspections, including checking of your fluid levels, air filters, and tire inflation pressure and tread depth. Meanwhile, a tire rotation will cost between $20 and $50.
Ask your mechanic if there are car parts that require replacement. Your brake pad, for example. Or your wiper blade. The goal is for your car as a whole to be in tiptop shape and that all possible mechanical contingencies have been accounted for.
Stock up on long drive essentials
You need to pack complete but mobile luggage. You also have to go for a grocery run to buy food. Ideally, you need sustenance that will keep you awake on the road. Ready to drink coffee is your best friend. You can’t go wrong with bananas and dark chocolates too. A trail mix with walnuts and almonds should keep your long drive diet interesting as well.
Also, do not forget to bring sanitary supplies. Make sure to have enough rolls of tissue paper and wet wipes for when you need to do some dirty business at gas stops. Lastly, assemble a simple first aid kit to bring with you. As much as you should be gunning for an uneventful journey, it pays to be ready should you need a bandaid or a gauze, plus some disinfectant to clean a wound with. Maybe a pop of Advil to keep your migraine at bay.
Print a physical map
Yes, your smartphone doubles as a map. But you can’t be sure if you’ll have a reliable mobile data connection the rest of the way. There’s no harm in being proactive. So download a map online and print it out in time for your journey.
Make sure the map you download is readable too. You do not want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere, sans internet connection, trying to read a map that’s difficult to understand.
Call a friend or family member
You want another soul to know about your travel plans. That way should any untoward incident happen, you’re not totally on your own.
The person you call might even decide to tag along. And that prospect is something you should welcome. Long drives are more fun when you have someone else to share the journey with. Moreover, you’ll have someone to divide driving duties with.
Double-check critical car parts
The night before your departure, double-check your car. Yes, you already had an expert mechanic see to it that your car’s in tiptop shape. Still, it does not hurt to be extra cautious. After all, you might have already used the car between its date with your mechanic and your day of departure.
A long drive will keep your defensive driving skills sharp. The more mileage you accumulate, the more you learn how to be the most responsible driver you can be. And being a responsible driver means you cannot fall prey to road rage, which is sadly on the rise.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you are confronted by an enraged driver, be the better person. Act as calmly as you can. There’s no winning an argument against another driver who’s clearly under the dangerous spell of road rage. So politely stay in your car (politely get back in your car if you’re out on the road) and drive away. You have a destination you need to get to, and no road distractions should postpone your progress.