Recommendations for driving on a long car journey 


Currently, the most common causes of fatal traffic accidents on the road are, among others, excessive or inappropriate speed at the wheel, distractions (use of mobile and navigator, radio, children, ...), infringement of traffic regulations, consumption of drugs and alcohol, and fatigue and stress.

As the DGT announces year after year during these "summer holiday departure dates", and in order to avoid an increase in the number of fatal accidents on the road, it is advisable to take into account some tips before getting behind the wheel and making a long journey of several hours.

Some of the recommendations to bear in mind before the driver gets behind the wheel are as follows:

- Travel during the day, whenever possible.

- Wear comfortable, cool clothing.

- Adjust rear-view mirrors and seats before setting off, as appropriate.

- Plan and schedule your travel route well in advance.

- Leave well in advance.

- Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. If possible, take turns driving with another person on long journeys.

- Lead a healthy lifestyle (balanced and healthy diet, regular exercise to relieve tension, etc.).

- Practise relaxing activities (yoga, pilates), take a restorative bath, have a massage, etc., especially for drivers who suffer from stress at the wheel.

- Avoid consuming or taking alcohol, tobacco, drugs or medicines.

- Listen to relaxing music at the wheel.

Get the car "tuned up" and take it to a garage for a mechanical check-up sufficiently in advance. The following should be checked:

Tyres: Check tyre wear, expiry and cold tyre pressure, as well as the condition of the sidewalls.
Brakes: Check brake discs and pads.
Oil: Check the date of the last oil change, the filter, and check that the oil level is correct.
Other fluids (brake, windscreen washer, water, steering and coolant): check that they are correct.
Lights: Check that they work, that they are clean and that their height is correct. Carry spare lights.
Battery: Check its condition, and know "how to jump start a car" in case the battery runs out.
Steering and suspension: check shock absorbers.
Air filter: Check that it is clean.
Things you shouldn't be without before setting off on a trip:

- Spare wheel and hydraulic jack.
- Waistcoat.
- Triangles.
- Documentation.
- First aid kit.
- Child safety seat.

On the other hand, some of the recommendations to be taken into account by the driver during the journey are the following:

- Use of seat belts, even in the rear seats.

- If children are carried, it is recommended that they should be in the central rear seat, securely fastened in their child seat, in case of a side impact.

- Frequent stops on long journeys. Stopping every two hours and resting for sufficient time is recommended. If possible, take turns driving with another person.

- Do not impose an arrival time. Remember: "The important thing is to arrive".

- Be concentrated and attentive, with all five senses at the wheel.

- Avoid distractions, especially those in which you take your hands off the wheel (smoking, looking for objects, turning on the radio, using a mobile phone or navigator, etc.).

- Drink water periodically and a caffeinated drink when stopping.


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