Six tips for driving long distances

Carlton Boyce / 18 February 2015 ( 19 December 2016 )

A recent report by Saga showed that increasing numbers of the over 50s are using their cars for holidays and leisure trips. We share six tips to driving long distances safer and more enjoyable.



There is a real pleasure in driving long distances. Even on today’s congested roads; the freedom, the sense of adventure, the sheer joy of the road unfolding before you. But without proper planning, your adventure could turn into a nightmare.

Here are our top tips on how to enjoy your long journey in safety.

1. Keep your car in good condition

If you keep your car serviced regularly and check the basics before a long journey, your car is unlikely to let you down.

This means checking the oil, water and fuel levels, making sure all your lights work, and making sure your tyres are at the correct pressure. By doing so you’ll be avoiding the most common causes of breakdowns at a stroke.

Read our simple tips for maintaining your car

For extra peace of mind, you might like to consider taking out Saga Breakdown Assistance.

2. Pack an emergency kit

It’s important to keep an emergency kit in your car at all times. 

It needn’t be expensive or take up much room, as it only needs to contain a first aid kit, spare fuses and bulbs for the car, a foot pump or tyre inflator, tyre pressure gauge, a litre of engine oil, a road atlas, a couple of snack bars and a bottle of drinking water.

If you add a couple of blankets and a shovel in the winter, this should help keep you mobile no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.

Try our ultimate guide to driving in the snow

3. Plan your route

Why not plan your route to take in a tourist attraction or somewhere you’d like to see? It might add time to your journey but you’ll end up enjoying the trip more, breaking the monotony (important if you’re using a lot of motorways), and turning a necessity into an adventurous road trip!

How to plan a road trip

4. Take regular breaks

The Government’s advice portal recommends taking a 15-minute break every two hours to avoid fatigue, a major cause of driver-related accidents.

It also suggests getting a good night’s sleep before a long journey, stopping in a safe place whenever you feel tired, drinking a couple of cups of caffeinated coffee and taking a short snooze if you feel sleepy.

Four must-visit motorway services

5. Entertainment

Don’t worry, we are not about to suggest a game of i-Spy! Long journeys can get tedious, so why not try a spoken-word book instead of the radio? Most libraries will lend them to you for free and they’re a great way to help the time fly.

Your guide to audiobooks

6. Take the road less travelled

Why not dodge motorways and use smaller roads instead? Yes, it will take longer but it’s bound to me more interesting, and even if you want to do the bulk of your journey on them why not detour for a break?

Websites like offmotorway.com and nearthemotorway.co.uk provide an easy way to find great, independent places to eat and stay that are the antithesis of corporate bland.

Save money with our tips for driving economically

Enjoyed this article? Why not sign up for our Technology and Motoring newsletter?

Defaqto 5 star car insurance 2016
PROMOTION Saga Car Insurance Great Cover, Great Price!
Defaqto 5 Star Rated Comprehensive Cover.
Over 50? Click to get a quote!


Carlton Boyce If you enjoy Carlton's inimitable style of writing, you'll love his motoring column - to have each one delivered straight to your door every month, subscribe to Saga Magazine today!


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.