Tips for Driving Long Distances Alone: Managing Your Fear
Driving is something that millions of people around the world do each day. Some find it thrilling, and they do jobs that require driving. Others find it necessary, only driving to get their errands done each day. Finally, there are those who find driving to be a bit scary.
Even those who are comfortable driving on a day-to-day basis can find driving long distances to be an overwhelming experience. After all, what will happen if you get too tired to continue before you reach your rest point? Who will you call for help if something happens to your car?
There are a lot of “what-ifs” that are sure to go through your head when planning a long drive. Today, we’re sharing tips for driving long distances alone which have been tried and tested by a lot of people.
Tips for Driving Long Distances Alone
Whether you are afraid of driving in general or just nervous about taking on a longer trip than usual, incorporating these tips into your driving routine is sure to help you successfully reach your destination!
#1: Set and Share Your Schedule
The first thing you should do when planning to do a long-distance drive alone is to plan out your driving schedule as best you can. There will, of course, always be some fluctuations in the plan because of traffic and other unforeseeable factors, but making a concrete plan can help to ease the stress of driving a long distance alone.
What to Schedule
There are a lot of different things you might want to put on your schedule. Depending on the purpose of your drive and any planned detours, the things that will need to be included in your schedule are going to differ.
For most, the main things to schedule are food and sleep breaks. Whether you plan to nap in a car park or stay overnight in a hotel, having these things booked and planned in advance will help to ensure you get those necessary break times. Typically, most people will find that their trip also becomes more comfortable if they plan their gas breaks and stops along the way.
By scheduling those things out in advance, you can have the directions that you need to have saved and ready to go. Additionally, always having a stopping point in mind can help you to stay calm when you are driving a long distance alone. Thinking about your gas break in one hour is going to be more calming than thinking about reaching your destination in five!
When to Schedule
You’ll also need to figure out when to schedule things. Try to schedule a break for yourself at least every two hours while driving, but that amount of time will differ depending on what your personal needs are. If you aren’t sure, plan around when you will need gas, when you like to eat, and don’t give yourself stretches that are longer than three hours.
Book in Advance
Make sure you book any accommodations that you plan to stay in ahead of time. Some drivers like to wing it and find places to sleep as they go, but those with driving anxiety will find that this is more stressful.
When you book in advance, you know exactly where and when you will be sleeping. That makes it easier to get through the long and challenging portions of your drive.
Sharing Your Schedule
Once you’ve completed your general schedule, share it with someone at your destination or departure point so that they know where you are expected to be along the way. When you stop, shoot them a text and let them know where on the schedule you are.
Doing this does more than ease their discomfort; it should also reduce your own. Knowing that someone is keeping tabs on you and has an idea of where you are can be a very relieving thought. If something were to happen or you stopped checking in, you would be safer since they know where you are currently driving.
If you want to feel even more secure, you can set up your phone to share your location with a trusted contact. Ask a friend or family member if they would be willing to look out for you while you are on your long drive, and share your location with them if they say yes.
#2: Bring Back Up Support
While you have to complete this drive alone, you don’t have to complete it without any support. There are a lot of resources in today’s world that can help you to be safer while driving long distances, so this has to be one of the most important tips for driving long distances on your own.
We all rely on our phones for navigation these days, but it is possible for phones to lose connection, break, or just run out of battery while on the road. Back-up chargers can be a help in these situations, but you cannot rely 100% on your phone to turn back on.
Keeping physical maps of the areas where you will be driving is a great idea, especially when you will be driving through places which may not have great cell phone reception. If you lose connection for long enough that you doubt the route you are following, you can quickly check your map.
Before you leave on your trip, use your phone navigation to bring up the suggested route. Then, use a highlighter to mark that route on your physical map. If you lose your phone’s navigation, it will be easy to start using the map in its place.
Insurance and Towing
Before you leave on your trip, enroll in a roadside assistance insurance plan if you aren’t already subscribed. If you get lost, break down, or otherwise encounter problems on the road, calling the number provided will get you help as soon as possible.
Even if you never end up using the assistance, the knowledge that help is just a phone call away is going to be very reassuring when you are on the road alone.
#3: Address Your Driving Fear Directly
Is your fear of driving long distances rooted in your general fear of driving? Do you often find yourself nervous when you get behind the wheel, squeezing the wheel as tight as you can until you can finally stop the vehicle?
If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, it might be time for you to address your fear of driving by taking a driving program specifically to help you learn how to manage that fear when you are heading on a drive.
Many people don’t think about this type of program like Driving Fear Help as an option, but there is no reason that you should have to be afraid every time you get in a car. This program can help you to work on that fear.
The Goal of the Program
The goal of Driving Fear Help is to assist you in overcoming fear and anxiety which may occur while you are driving. This is done through a variety of approaches depending on why you are afraid, but the program itself keeps anxiety relief as the primary goal.
Rather than allow your fear of driving prevent you from seeing your family, exploring the world, or taking a new career opportunity that would require a commute, you can loosen the grip that driving fear has on your life through this regulated and successful program.
How the Program Works
This program focuses on you and your reactions to the fear of driving. Fear and anxiety about driving are a type of conditioned response. A response your body has learned because it understands that driving can be dangerous, and that’s why it puts you into a stressed or panicked state when you think about driving.
The program works to help your body and mind to unlearn that reaction. Once driving has been uncoupled from the fear you experience, you will be able to rebuild more positive associations for driving in your life. Ultimately, you’ll find driving to be a less stressful experience.
The program helps you to work through clear, actionable steps that will end the way anxiety controls your driving experience. With the support of the program and all of its components, you can relearn your perspective on driving forever!
Another great bonus of this specific program is that the tactics and methods you'll learn to help solve your driving anxiety can also be applied to other fears you have in life.
While the goal of the program focuses entirely on driving, the coping techniques and conditioning mechanisms that you will become familiar with can improve your life more generally as well.
Many who have completed the program have found that they can more confidently address their anxiety and fears in many areas of life. When you can learn to let go of doubt, you can do more in all areas of life.
#4: Prepare to Be Alert
One of the biggest fears people have when driving long distances alone is that they will fall asleep on the road with no one there to help them stay awake. This is a prevalent reason for accidents, so it is a reasonable fear to have.
Still, there are a lot of ways that can help prevent this from occurring. In addition to planning breaks and rest points as outlined in the scheduling section above, you can do a few other things as well.
Leave Early in the Morning
By getting on the road soon after you wake up, you will be less tired and more alert to what is going on around you. Additionally, leaving early will give you more hours of daytime driving, which is a must when you are trying to stay alert while driving.
Roads typically have less traffic in the mornings as well, but that will depend on what areas you are driving in and whether or not you cross any morning commute routes. If possible, use an app like Waze to predict traffic levels and avoid any morning congestion.
Make a Playlist
Another crucial part of staying alert is to listen to the right kind of stimulation. What type of music do you like to listen to while driving? What helps you to stay awake and focused?
Make yourself a playlist in advance of at least three hours of this type of music so that you don’t need to fiddle with your playlist on the road.
Audiobooks and Podcasts
For some drivers, music isn’t enough stimulation to keep them awake on the road, and they find themselves zoning out even when energetic music is playing. Using audiobooks or podcasts can be a way to engage your mind and help you stay focused.
Before you use these types of audio, though, it is recommended you try it on a shorter drive to make sure that listening to people speak doesn’t distract you from the road. For most people, they are a great way to focus, but it is always good to be safe.
Use Coffee Wisely
If you’re a coffee drinker, you might be tempted to pound back another cup of coffee every single time you feel the slightest bit tired. While caffeine is a great tool to use for staying alert, use it wisely. Too much coffee can make you jittery and ultimately cause you to crash.
When you stop for a cup of coffee, make sure to follow it up with a bottle of water to balance out your system. Plus, the water will ensure that you need to go to the bathroom in an hour or so, and that will give you a much-needed rest point!
You Can Do It!
Driving can be intimidating, but we are confident that with the help of these tips for driving long distances alone, you can make the journey an exciting one. There are a lot of things that can be scary on the road, but there are even more things that can be very exciting. Take this chance to embrace the freedom of the drive!
As long as you have prepared for your trip and are ready to stop and rest when needed, nothing is stopping you from completing a long journey on your own!