It’s inevitable that at some point you are going to head out on a long journey using your car. But in order to have a pleasant experience, you can’t just start the engine, hit the gas and go.

Driving for long periods is a test of any driver’s ability, so it requires a little bit of planning and preparation before you head out onto the road. Here are 9 simple ways to make long distance driving more manageable.

1. Get enough rest

Good driving requires a lot of concentration and focus, which is why driving for too long can make you feel tired. Driving on the open road will require you to be sitting in one place for a long time, and your eyes will be constantly fixed on what’s around you. If you are planning on taking a long trip, it makes sense to be well-rested before you hit the road. You may wake up in the morning feeling full of energy, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you can get fatigued if you haven’t had enough rest.

Ensuring you are rested also gives confidence to other passengers who are travelling with you. The last thing they want to experience is the car suddenly drifting into the wrong lane because the driver nodded off for a second or two

2. Take turns to drive

As we mentioned above, driving is a real test of endurance. Just because you are sitting down and not moving doesn’t mean the experience won’t tire you out. If you are heading away on a long journey, the best solution is to share the duty with anyone else in the car who is licenced and insured to drive that vehicle.

Ideally, you shouldn’t be driving for 3-4 hours straight without any sort of break. By taking it in turns, the other driver can take a nap or just recuperate until it is their turn to get back behind the wheel. It’s the best way to ensure you don’t lose much time and keep everyone safe.

Couple in car smiling whilst driving long distance

3. Try not to rush

Even if you are in a hurry to reach your destination you must always pay attention to speeding law. It is not worth getting in trouble with the police and having points added to your licence. Not speeding also ensures you and everyone else in the car remains safe. If you have planned ahead, there is no need to break your neck – and the law – to reach your destination.

4. Stay refreshed

Just as important as taking breaks from driving is keeping yourself fed and hydrated. There is no use punishing yourself for several hours straight putting your foot to the floor without taking the time to eat and drink. When you get out of the car, you’ll likely just want to go and lie down somewhere.

Bring small, energy-filled foods with you like fruit, vegetables and nuts. Try to avoid sugary snacks as they will only boost you for a while before the sugar crash kicks in. Also, make sure you have plenty of water to keep you feeling refreshed

5. Maintain your car

The driver(s) need to be in good condition throughout the duration of the journey, and the same applies to your car. Driving for long distances means the vehicle will be put under a lot of pressure, so you need to perform some basic checks to ensure it is ready to perform as you need on your travels.

This includes checking your fuel levels, taking a look at the oil and water levels and giving your tyres a once over (if the pressure is low, pump them up before you start the journey). By covering these basics, you have a greater chance of avoiding many of the common causes that lead to breakdowns.

6. Pack emergency supplies

When you are going on a long journey you should also have an emergency kit with you, just in case. These emergency kits do not cost a lot of money and shouldn’t take up to much room in the car. They will typically include things like a first aid kit, spare light bulbs for the car, a tyre pressure gauge, a foot pump, fire extinguisher, high-vis vest, torch and a warning triangle.

7. Use alternative routes

Not everyone feels confident or comfortable driving on a motorway due to the sustained high speeds and the increased amount of drivers on the road. While it often offers the quickest route from A to B, there are always other ways to reach your destination. Using A or B roads may add to the journey time, but they can be less busy and the experience less stressful. You can always try to mix the two by doing half of the journey on the motorway and the other half on smaller roads.

sweeping country lane, blue skyies and green rolling hills

8. Keep yourself entertained

Obviously, you will need to keep concentrating on the road and other motorists around, but there is no need to sit in silence. Put together a playlist before you leave so you have some nice background sounds that will keep your brain active. Play a podcast or an audio book – whatever it is that will invigorate your brain without causing too much of a distraction.

9. Refuel the car when needed

One of the worst possible things for any driver to experience is a breakdown due to lack of fuel. It’s a situation that’s easily avoided, especially when going on a long trip, as there are so many service stations available for you to stop and refuel.

Don’t try to leave it until you reach your destination if you think you ‘just’ might make it. It’s not a risk worth taking and will only add to your stress if you are forced to pull onto the hard shoulder, or worse still in the middle of the road. Keep an eye on your fuel gauge and if you are running low, fill up the tank to avoid any issues.

Our best cars for long-distance driving

Here at Leasing Options, we have picked some of our favourite cars for long distance driving. These spacious vehicles are ideal for making your journey more comfortable.

  • Seat Leon Diesel Sport Tourer – With included cruise control and an extensive media system this affordable 5 seater vehicle is ideal for lengthy motorway drives.
  • Mercedes-Benz E Class Diesel Saloon – This fuel-efficient car is just the thing for covering long distances, as it drives smoothly and quietly for a comfortable, luxurious experience.

For more information, news and advice, check out the rest of our car leasing blog.