Driving 2,250 kilometers (approximately 1,400 miles) in a day or a night is a straightforward task but doing so without completely feeling wiped out the entire trip requires preparation and taking advantage of your circadian rhythms. 2,250km is about the distance you’ll be driving from Washington DC to Miami or from London to Istanbul. It’s tolling on the body and mind so make it easy on yourself.

driving at night

Dress Appropriately

Wear loose clothing so your skin and muscles don’t get irritated and to prevent the restriction of blood flow. Same as when you’re flying, traveling for more than 4 hours at a time increases your risk of blood clots (for up to 4 weeks). Make it easier on your body by giving it as much room to breathe as possible. Wear loose socks as well since the blood supply to and from the legs is affected most.

Caffeine, Snacks, and More Caffeine

paper cup with coffee in itIdeally you want to drive in segments of about 500km (~300 miles) depending on how fast you’re driving. (Here’s how to avoid a speeding ticket just in case.) Pick your driving segments according to your bladder and ability to concentrate and stick with it. Limit yourself to 8 oz. of caffeinated beverage for the first 100 mile segment so you’re not pulling over early to go to the bathroom.

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Also, you’ll be better able to drive further if your car is stocked with high fiber snacks (apricots, almonds, etc.) which will fill you up without insulin fatiguing you after you eat.

Set The Trip Counter To Zero

Head over to a gas station, fill your tank full and reset the trip counter. While you should listen to your body (as you fatigue or get bored) you’ll find it easier to have a 500km segment goal to make a long trip seem shorter. It’s all about getting into the flow of each segment and not stopping in the middle of any of them. Make each stop a gas, bathroom, stretch, and go. You can cover a lot of ground this way, especially towards the end when you’re concentration is starting to fade.

Use Your Body Clock

body clockThe best time to drive is when there’s nobody else on the road which is generally in the middle of the night, conflicting with your normal human circadian rhythms. You want to free yourself from the mental wear of having to stop, go, and deal with other drivers (who don’t drive as well as you, of course).

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If you’re normally a morning person, active and alert during the day shift your body clock with peanuts to get up a few hours earlier when the roads are clear. Night owls can do the same, except by leaving after the night rush, if there is one.

Now For The Actual Driving

Preparation is easy and breaking your trip down into manageable segments isn’t too difficult either…at first. Hours on the road will begin to take their toll, your eyes will get hazy, and you’ll want to stop more and more frequently. Tomorrow I’ll give you my tricks from the road to keep you alert and safe while at the same time being as lazy as possible.

[photos by: BottleLeaf, libraryman, !*S4N7Y*!]