How to Drive Cross-Country Safely

Many people like to go out for a drive to help themselves relax, but when you have a long drive ahead of you, it can cause a lot of stress. This might be true for some shorter drives, but not for something major like a cross-country trip. Whether you’re picking up and moving to the other side of the country for some of the amazing real estate you can click here to see, or you’re taking a vacation in Florida from Oregon: there’s a long drive ahead of you. Cross country trips can last from forty to sixty hours of pure driving, not including the time spent eating, refueling, and resting. These long drives can be significant wear on both mind and body and should be thoroughly planned out before anyone makes a move to try traveling. Here are some of the top tips for cross-country drivers and the best ways to end up happy on arrival.

Don’t Go Alone

Some people might think driving is best when they’re on their own, as there can sometimes be tension with passengers if you’re together for hours at a time. If you can take someone with you, absolutely do it. When you’re on the road for hours, you’re likely going to get tired of driving quickly. If you have someone else who can drive in the car with you, you won’t have to drive the entire way by yourself. Having someone else in the car is much safer because they can help you get sleepy on the road and be willing to trade off driving duties with you.

Even if they can’t and won’t drive, having another person in the car with you is better for your mental and physical health. We may ignore our own body’s needs for food or a restroom, but with someone else in the vehicle, we’re more likely to think to stop. They can also help with directions when you’re driving or even just open a water bottle for you while your hands are on the wheel. Plus, being in the car alone for hours can be extremely boring, so it helps to have someone to talk to. It’s entirely possible to make this drive on your own, but you should attempt to go with a friend.

Rest Frequently

Don’t avoid stopping to try and breeze through the trip. Being on the road for hours can be draining, and you shouldn’t push yourself to go without breaks. If you’re driving cross-country, you’ll absolutely need to take breaks at some point. Stop and stretch your legs and walk around at least once every couple of hours. You should also be taking breaks to get something to eat when you’re hungry, which you can do when you pass by a nice park, rest station, or of course, a restaurant.

These breaks will keep your mind sharp and will help you assess how your body is holding up. We can cramp up and get sore from sitting in one position for too long- it’s not healthy to do it unchecked. It would help if you attempted to stop at small sightseeing spots since this will help make your trip more memorable. Before your trip, try and look for places that would be good to take a break, places you’d like to stop and visit, and hotels or motels where you can get some much-needed sleep, so you don’t have to worry about finding something when you’re on the road. Try not to drive more than ten hours a day, or fifteen if you’re trading off who’s going. When you’re tired, stop, and sleep. Driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, so you need to be responsible and not put yourself and others in harm’s way.

Change Up Entertainment


For long trips, many people travel by plane or train, where you can watch movies, read, or get some work done to pass the time. However, you have fewer ways to entertain yourself when you’re behind the wheel during a cross-country trip. When you’re in the car, you probably play music on the radio, a playlist you made, or with your favorite CD. As great as it is to rock out to your favorite music while you’re driving, don’t fear changing out what you listen to. Before you leave, pick out a mixture of audiobooks, music, podcasts, and other audio-based entertainment options to keep varied options available. When you think about it, you probably have a lot of books or podcasts you’ve planned to get through and haven’t had the time for, and this is a great chance to listen to them. This plan will keep you from getting bored, and having new and fun media to enjoy will give you something to look forward to the next time you get in the car.

Refuel Earlier Than You Usually Would

We’re all guilty of letting our cars get a little too close to empty when we’re driving between work and our homes. This isn’t usually a huge deal, although it can be annoying, since we know where gas stations in the area are, and we know when we absolutely must stop to refuel. Unfortunately, when we’re on the road, we can’t risk hoping we’re going to make it to the next stop. If you don’t know where the next gas station is, you might not get to one before you absolutely need more gas. When you’re on the road, try not to let your car’s tank have less than a third left in it. Refuel once you have that thirty to forty percent left, and use this as a chance to stretch your legs. Stopping more frequently is a much-preferred trade-off to running out of gas and getting stranded. Know how approximately far you’re able to get with a full tank of gas so you have an idea of where you’ll be when you need to stop and if there’s somewhere near there that you can go. This can help you feel confident knowing that you won’t have to worry about being stranded without gas.