first long car journey tips

In this article, Tracey McBain from Lookers, one of the UK’s largest car retailers, takes a closer look at how you should go about preparing for your first long distance drive. Read on for our first long car journey tips to find out more.

Our first long car journey tips will help you make the right preparation

When you’ve passed your driving test, a whole exciting world of freedom opens up to you. Not only will you be able to make journeys around your local area, but you will also have the option to get a lot further away from home too. This means that you can begin to think about things like going on road trips with your friends or visiting distant family members. However, such trips mean that you will spend more time driving than you have done before.

Travelling a long distance for the first time can be intimidating.  Especially so is if you will be driving the whole way yourself. However, with some forward planning and the right attitude, you will be able to handle your first long car journey.

Have someone you trust in the front passenger seat

Taking someone along that you trust can be a big confidence booster when you are driving a long distance for the first time. It’s also one of the reasons why you are allowed to take someone with you on your driving test. A lot of people feel it settles their nerves.

If you’re heading off on a road trip with your friends or family, asking someone who is already an experienced driver to sit in the front with you can be quite handy. They can give you encouragement and advice, as well as act as a co-navigator if you get a bit lost.

Prepare for motorway driving

motorway signWhile you may have experienced some busy roads during your time as a learner driver, it’s unlikely that you’ve had much exposure to the art of motorway driving. Though you may feel intimidated, it’s worth remembering that they are the safest roads to drive on and only account for 5% of all road casualties, according to the Department of Transport’s 2015 figures.

There are no pedestrians, fewer bends, and corners, and everyone is travelling at roughly the same speed.

However, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings on a motorway, as they are different to the roads that you are used to. This guide from Moneysupermarket recommends that you always keep an eye on your mirrors, check blind spots, and indicate when you are changing lanes. It also recommends that you stick to the first lane until you are surer of yourself.

If you feel tired or stressed, take a break

It’s vital that you are able to give the road your full attention during the whole length of a trip. If you begin to feel tired, stop for a break and give your brain a rest. The AA recommends that you should aim to stop roughly every two hours — especially if you’re not used to long distance driving. There are plenty of service stations across the country. Therefore, if you feel your eyes or brain starting to slouch, turn off at the next junction or service station and get some fresh air to refresh yourself.

The same can be said if you are feeling stressed or distracted on the road. If your first taste of the motorway was a little too intense or your friends are having an annoying argument, head somewhere where you can all cool off and take a breather.

Don’t just rely on satnav

no through road signTechnology is a wonderful thing, but when it goes wrong it can leave us in a bit of a jam.

This most definitely applies to satellite navigation systems. Navigation aids are known to issue incorrect instructions or calculate routes that make no sense at all.

Being too reliant on these driving aids can make us complacent. So, research exactly where to go before the journey. As a backup, always have a national road map in your car.  At the very least, a map of the area you are visiting.

You should try to develop your map reading skills too. There’s a good chance that all of the roads will be strange to you. Therefore, take the time to prepare for the moment that your satnav malfunctions. This will make sure that that you are still able to continue with your journey.

Take these first long distance car journey tips on board.  Consequently, you will be able to prepare with much less stress than going in blind. Remember that it isn’t a race, and you should take as much time as you are comfortable with. We hope you enjoyed our article on your first long car journey tips.

Bryan Greenall
Bryan Greenall
Driving Instructor & owner of Evolve Driving School
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