Driving for hours without taking a break can be dangerous.
After all, driving involves control, skill, and concentration.
It might not be possible for you to remain mentally and physically alert for hours.
It would hence be helpful to make frequent stops to maintain high levels of safe and effective driving.
So, How Frequently Should You Take Breaks During Long Road Trips?
After two hours of continuous driving you should take a 20 minute break, Driving involves intense work and breaks because you will likely not pay sufficient attention when you get exhausted. By not following this rule, you might be tired, making you fall asleep while driving or suffering from decreased reaction times.
You should also have a daily limit of 8 hours behind the wheel to ensure you remain alert. If you are on an interstate highway, state-sponsored rest areas offer an excellent place to grab a snack, stretch your legs or go to the restroom. Other good places to take a break from long-distance driving include local restaurants, gas stations, and parks.
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Four Reasons You Might Need To More Road Trip Breaks
1. Nighttime Driving
Your internal body clock has been naturally programmed to sleep at night.
Frequent breaks while consuming coffee is a way of combatting this.
If you’re still sleepy, GET OFF THE ROAD! BOOK A HOTEL ROOM AND SLEEP FOR SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE RESUMING YOUR TRIP.
As you know, there are some medications that will impair your driving ability due to drowsiness.
Always check precautions on the medications (and with doctors and pharmacists) to know if you will be safe to drive and for how long.
3. Kids and Pets
You should expect frequent stops when traveling with a furry friend or little one.
They need to pee frequently and get snacks, so ensure to stop more frequently.
4. If You Have Eaten a Large Meal Before Your Drive
Taking a large meal before driving is not a very good idea, particularly when driving long distances.
Hearty and big meals tend to make your body sleepy and sluggish.
This results in lower concentration levels that might lead to an accident.
However, if you can’t avoid driving after taking a large meal, you should consider taking more frequent breaks than the recommended standard of two hours.
This way, you can stretch your leg, eliminate the drowsiness, and get fresh air that will help you remain alert.
What Are the Risks of Driving Long Distances Without Taking a Break?
You should take frequent breaks when driving for long distances to ensure you are in the best possible condition for the long distance.
Here are some risks of driving long distances without taking a break.
1. You Risk Falling Asleep on The Road
Most drivers think that they can never fall asleep and that you can easily stay awake and control yourself.
However, although we admire this positivity, the sleeping urge is stronger, and you can quickly nod without realizing it.
Therefore, it’s essential to take the two-hour intervals for some fresh air and some coffee for you to get back to the road refreshed.
Some signs that it’s time to take a break from your steering wheel include; repetitive yawning, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, heavy eyelids, and staring.
The consequences of nodding off at the wheel can be fatal, and taking a ten to fifteen-minute break from the road is worth it.
2. Slower Reaction Times
Driving long distances without a break reduces your ability to react fast to the events of the road.
This is especially dangerous on motorways where you will be driving at high speeds with only seconds of responding to sudden car braking or cars that switch lanes without a signal.
Drivers can face substantial issues because of fatigue, which might reduce their alertness, decision-making time, and reaction. It also decreases your tolerance for other road users.
Therefore, you require the breaks to help you maintain the proper concentration levels in frequent two-hours stretches that make driving safer.
3. You Risk Developing Back Pain
Driving nonstop for a long distance can take a toll on your body in the long run, such as back pains.
This can range from slight lower back pain to a sharp pain down the entire legs, a condition known as sciatic nerve pain.
Stopping for a break to stretch your legs will help loosen up the joints and stretch out your back, decreasing the risk of back pain.
4. Risk Running Out of Fuel
While these points might seem ridiculous to include, it’s common for drivers to become carried away by trying to cover a lot of miles, completely forgetting that they require refueling.
Because you start to get tired and lose concentration after two hours, it is easy to devote all your energy to the actual driving, allowing fuel levels to drop without notice.
By stopping regularly, you will probably stop somewhere with a fuel pump where you can fill up, reminding you to check your fuel levels and even giving you a chance to refill.
Ultimately, it’s recommendable to stop after every two hours when driving long distances to ensure you reach your destination safely.
Remember that driving might not be physically demanding but can strain you mentally.
By listening to your body and needs, those of the people on board, as well as official advice, you will have an enjoyable and safe journey without worrying about losing concentration.