Health Preparations for Long-Distance Drives During COVID-19

Updated on October 21, 2020

When we hear of the words road trip, two things automatically come to our minds. It is either excitement or dread. During these trying times, with the threat of COVID-19 just looming around the corner, the prospect of long-distance travel has become daunting for most families.

With lockdown and quarantine regulations changing now and then due to a spike of cases, some are discouraged from pushing through with their travel plans. However, for many, traveling during the coronavirus pandemic is more of a necessity than a whim.

Even with smooth traffic flow and concrete roads layered with quality high adhesion primer, a stressed driver can still meet a road mishap. Accordingly, cognitive distractions due to stress may cause car accidents. Having your mind somewhere else while driving can diminish your awareness and reaction time.

Traveling safely goes beyond wearing face masks and sanitizing often. You should also give importance to your mental health. Nonetheless, there are several easy ways to help yourself and your family feel more at ease so that you will arrive at your destination safely and comfortably.

Plan Ahead

With ever-changing lockdown restrictions at every border, it is best to plan your destination.

Figure out ahead alternate routes to take in case authorities would not let private vehicles cross certain towns. Make a list of all necessary items you need to carry around with you, including government-issued IDs for identification.

Planning gives you a sense of control over the situation. It helps you avoid panicking and stressing out when things do not turn out as you imagined.

Get Enough Rest

Having enough hours of sleep has a lot of benefits. It helps you stay more alert and focused, and you are less likely to be cranky with small inconveniences. Furthermore, drivers who are under-slept are more prone to microsleeps. In the US alone, microsleeps account for 16 percent of fatal car crashes.

Experts advise that you should get a minimum of seven hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before going on a long drive. It will help you store more energy reserves, making you fit for long-distance travel. You should start your journey in the morning while you still have enough energy.

Pack Healthy Road Trip Food

While the majority of people opt for fast food and vending machine items for road trip meals, choosing healthier options helps a lot. Sugary and high-carb products may offer temporary energy boost but it will leave you tired in the end, as the insulin levels in your blood come crashing down.

Consider packing your meals and snacks instead. Prepare sandwiches for lunch and pack on healthy snack options, like mixed nuts, carrots and hummus, protein bars, and fresh fruits. Other than keeping yourself and your family healthy, you are saving a lot of money.

Drink Plenty of Water

Though coffee and long drives go hand in hand as it keeps you alert and focused, it can also make you dehydrated during a road trip. Our bodies need 2.7 to 3.7 liters of fluids a day, so stock up a good supply of water for long road travels.

Staying hydrated helps your body combat fatigue and dehydration. It also helps sustain the suppleness of your skin. The only drawback of downing in plenty of water is that you have to make frequent bathroom stops.

Know Your Triggers

Another important consideration for a long drive is knowing and understanding the things that stress you out. It could be anything inside the car, the heavy traffic flow, or simply the thought of driving for hours.

By knowing these triggers, you can mentally prepare yourself for handling certain situations. Plan to start your travel time during wee hours in the morning to avoid rush hour, take breaks to stretch and relax while on the road or download your favorite tunes to sing along while driving.

Stay Comfortable

Sitting inside your car for several hours can cause muscle stiffness and pain, making the mere thought of long drives nauseating. To prevent this usual scenario, pay extra attention to how to make yourself comfortable while driving.

Consider investing in ergonomic resting pillows for your back and neck. Not only do they help in keeping you in proper posture, but they provide enough comfort to prevent back and neck pains.

Prepare Your Car

Aside from the physical and mental health preparations to ensure a comfortable and safe long journey, make sure that your car is ready for a long drive. Have it checked for necessary repairs and maintenance. Keep a spare tire and tools in case you need it on the road.

Following these health pointers can make your long-distance journey comfortable and safe. Road trips won’t have to be difficult and a risk to your safety.

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