Making your long-distance driving safer

Thursday December 27 2018

While driving, leave a reasonable distance

While driving, leave a reasonable distance between you and other vehicles and watch out for any passengers that might be crossing. PHOTO BY Edgar. R Batte 

By Roland D. Nasasira

Driving long distances can be one of the challenges that some motorists, save for those that have driven for a longer time, are hard to deal with. But even then, it may also not be ruled out that it can at times be challenging as well to those that have driven for long. These are some of the tips you need to have in mind before you start your long journey.

Your car’s condition
Moses Ntenga, a motorist, says when he is to drive for a long journey irrespective of whether it is holiday time or not, he makes sure that his car is in a good mechanical condition. This includes checking whether his tyres and brakes are in good condition as some of the important aspects on every car.
“I also take my car to the garage for wheel alignment and wheel balance. If it is out of shape, I have it fixed immediately so that I reach my destination safely without any breakdowns,” Ntenga explains.

Start your journey early
Ntenga advises that it is equally paramount to begin your journey as early as possible. You should do this so that you are not tempted to drive fast, a major cause of a number of accidents.
“When you start your journey early, your brain is still fresh. By the time you get tired and worn out, you will almost have reached your destination,” Ntenga adds.

Reduce speed
Most journeys are always driven along highways. As such, there is always a temptation of driving fast, especially when another motorist overtakes. In turn, you may want to drive fast and overtake them, making it appear as though it is a competition, rally or race of sorts. Ntenga advises that when you reduce speed, you save yourself many things such as your vehicle skidding off the road in case you are scared by temporary objects such as animals.

Keep in contact
Natasha Kobugabe, a motorist, says for purposes of your personal safety on the road, keep in touch with the people waiting at your destination as well as those you left at your departing point. This makes it easier for any or both of them to know where you have reached so that in case of any help or emergency, they are able to devise means and mechanisms of reaching you for help or rescue.

Rest
As well as making it a point not to drink any kind of alcohol the day before you travel, Derrick Aguma, a motorist, recommends having enough rest the day prior to your journey. Enough rest, he reasons, helps you eliminate body fatigue that would otherwise wear you out along the journey.
“As a result of resting, you are able to make the right decisions on the road with a sober and fresh mind. You also have renewed energy levels to drive for a longer distance compared to when you are fatigued,” Aguma says.

Move with another driver
In the event that a journey is too long, Aguma recommends making the journey with another qualified driver. When you feel you cannot drive on anymore, the other driver can take over as you also rest.

Do not eat heavy foods
James Bright, a motorist, advises that as you start your journey, desist from eating heavy foods. This is because it will bloat your stomach since your body will be inactive with no movements at all. The best foods to eat on a long journey he suggests are those such as digestive biscuits and cereals as well as water to keep your body hydrated. He adds that you must plan the journey and know the points at which you should stop to rest and stretch as well as ease yourself.

Dress for comfort
According to www.aa.com, recommends wearing comfortable clothes and shoes and taking a pillow if your back tends to ache when you are behind the wheel for an extended period of time.
Be sure to apply sunblock before you leave and re-apply every two hours. Driving during the day means your arms or legs are exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time, and as much as you may not feel the sun on your skin through the windows, especially if they are tinted, you still run the risk of sunburn.
The portal adds that cruise control can make a long trip a lot more bearable, although lack of driver involvement may lead to laziness and a loss of concentration behind the wheel.
If you have cruise control, use it for short periods only. Cruise control (sometimes known as speed control or autocruise, or tempomat in some countries) is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system is a servomechanism that takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver.

Know the warning signs
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks are no substitute for sleep.
It is recommended that you take at least a 20 minute sleep if you notice any of the following warning signs:
•Drifting in the lane or over lane lines
•Changing speed without reason.
•Yawning.
•Blinking more than usual.
•Notice your eyes closing for a moment or going out of focus.
•Feeling drowsy, tired or exhausted.
•Having trouble keeping your head up.
•Do not remember the previous few minutes of driving.
•Experience slower reaction times.

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