When heading out for a long drive, whether you’re going somewhere for work or planning a fun road trip, it’s important to be prepared. While you might be driving through populated areas some of the time, there are often stretches of road where there aren't any gas stations or much civilizations to be found. To make sure your long drive is both safe and comfortable, it’s good to plan ahead and create a list of essential items to take with you. Having these times on hand will help you if you have a car emergency or just help ensure the trip goes smoothly.
This is why we’ve put together a list of the 10 things that everyone needs to take with them on long drives.
Having a lot of water on hand is essential. While you might be able to stop and get more in many cases, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Drinking water while driving will help keep you feeling healthy and alert.
This is especially true if you’re driving in the summer and dealing with the hot sun streaming through the windows. While drinking a lot of water might make you need to use the bathroom more, it will keep you feeling healthier while on your long trip.
If you’re planning to take your long drive by yourself, you might have issues staying alert during the trip. Of course, if you’re feeling drowsy, it’s best to pull over and take a quick nap or rest as drowsy driving can be really dangerous. For those long stretches where you're just starting to feel bored, however, chewing some gum can actually help you stay alert. You could also try breath mints or hard candy to give your mind something to focus on.
You should always have a spare tire in your car when on the road, but this is especially true when driving long distances. Make sure you have a spare tire that will work for your car and also brush up on your skills of how to change a tire.
If something happens to your tire while on the road, no matter where you're at, you’ll be able to take control of the situation and make it to a store where you can get the tire replaced.
Similarly to having a spare tire, it’s essential to keep other items for your car on hand. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency car kit with your car always. Generally, this kit should include things like jumper cables, gloves, rope, and flares. You can also consider adding some emergency items for yourself such as hand warmers, a blanket, and other items that could come in handy in a more extreme emergency situation. Having these basic emergency items on hand can help you if your car breaks down while on the way.
These items should somewhat go without saying, but sometimes we all need a reminder. If you're’ driving, you should have all three of these items on hand. It’s easy to get a small container to keep your registration and insurance in.
This way, if you do get pulled over, you can easily access this information and not feel flustered trying to find it. If you don’t have these items on you, you could risk getting a ticket which would definitely put a damper on your drive.
If you’re driving in the summer, the sun can beat down and lead to a sunburn. But, even in months or areas where the weather is cooler, you can still get sunburnt. It’s especially a good idea to put sunscreen on your left arm as this is usually the part of your body that sees the most sun while you’re driving. Sunscreen is also a good safety item to have if you’re planning to make any pit stops such as national monuments or other outdoor activities.
When planning a long drive, it’s a good idea to look at a map and see when you can get gas. If you’re driving through less populated areas and stretches of road, you’ll need to be more aware and make sure you keep your gas tank full.
However, sometimes emergencies do happen, and it’s always better to be prepared. If you have an empty gas tank on hand, you’ll be able to go get gas in the event that your car runs out.
The owners manual might not be something that you use a lot on a regular basis, but it’s important to have on hand while on a long drive. The owner’s manual can help if indicator lights come on or you need to do something like access the fuse box. If you’re renting a car or driving a car that isn’t yours, it’s especially important to make sure the owner’s manual is there as you won’t be familiar with the ins and outs of the vehicle.
While many of the important items for a long drive have to do with car maintenance and safety, making sure you have a comfortable trip is also important. Having a way to charge your phone is also an important safety measure as you’ll want to make sure you can call for help if you need to. Also, making sure you have a way to listen to the music that you’ll enjoy, whether that’s the radio, CD’s, or a connection for your phone, will make the journey much more pleasant.
When driving for hours at a time, you're likely going to get hungry. If you want to cut down on costs and the time it takes to stop for food, keeping a good amount of snacks and meals on hand is the way to go. You might get more hungry than you think, so always make sure to bring a variety of options and a little more food than you might need.