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Old 10th October 2017, 12:21   #16
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

My saga with long distance driving started in 1987, when my father was posted at Satna (Madhya Pradesh). At that time, my sister and myself used to study at Ajmer. Many a times after our summer / winter vacation, we used to drive it down to Ajmer, from where Dad would proceed to Chittorgarh for work.

The route we took was Satna (MP) - Panna (MP) - Chattarpur (MP) - Jhansi (UP) - Dabra (MP) - Gwalior (MP) - Morena (MP) - Dholpur (RAJ) - Saiya (UP) (37 kms before Agra, take a left turn) - Bharatpur (RAJ) - Jaipur (RAJ) - Ajmer (RAJ).

As kids, my sister and myself would find it most amusing to be criss crossing states repeatedly. MP to UP, back into MP followed by Rajasthan again into UP and back to Rajasthan again.

Our ride was the Ambassador (non everything as compared to all the creature comforts present in the cars of today), add to that the road conditions, which could put the moon surface to shame. The travellers were my father, mother, sister, driver and myself. Due to the car and road conditions, every three to four hours the driver, my father and myself rotated the steering wheel. Yes, those drives were tiring. Dust, smoke from trucks and buses, hot wind etc., took its toll on passengers and drivers like. Add to that the fixed ergonomics of the Ambassador (fixed front bench seat), unfriendly position of the seat with the pedals and frequent braking, steering movement and gear changes (column shift). We used to leave Satna at 4.30 AM and take a night halt at Jaipur. The drive from Jaipur to Ajmer used to be a nightmare. Single lane road, stuck behind a truck at 30 kmph for many a kilometers as one could not overtake due to the oncoming traffic. This definately took a toll on the passengers and driver alike. We used to reach Jaipur as dirty as coal mine workers and as tired as one can think.

In car comfort did improve by leaps and bounds when we got the Contessa Classic 2.0L (diesel). Roads too started improving. The Kishengarh byepass was open by now and it was a bliss driving on it. Ajmer Jaipur road too became 4 lane.

Subsequently I moved to Manipal to do my graduation. Developed the skill to do long distance drives on my friend's Kinetic Honda and later on my Kawasaki Bajaj RTZ Delta.

By now, I observed it took me one to one and a half hour to get my body and reflexes tuned to the vehicle (be it my bike or in later years my car) after which I could drive with ease. This still happens with me.

For work, when I moved to Oman, the ball game changed. Great cars, great roads and really long distances to cover. Initially I was posted at a town called Salalah which is 1028 kms from Muscat. I could do this stretch easily in 9 hours with 3 fuel cum food cum bio breaks with zero fatique.

Having repatriated back to India, I have seen a huge improvement in the road conditions. With this and much better cars available, fatique factor has been reduced to a drastic level. The only thing one has to be careful is being drowsy.

During my later years at Muscat, I had to do a lot of touring to visit branches. 220 kms to the first town, attend a customer meet there, have lunch and proceed to the next town about 190 kms away, attend another customer meet and back to Muscat 250 kms away). The trick was, after lunch, I used to drive out of the first city, stop at a petrol pump, set the alarm for 45 mins, recline my seat and sleep off. Wake up, wash my face and fresh to complete the next sector of drive.

What adds to fatigue are bad roads, bad vehicles (hardly any), passing through towns having unruly traffic conditions, bad roads and ofcourse not having slept well before the start of the journey. I do not prefer night driving. I am in my comfort zone when I commence my journey at 4 AM and complete it by 6 to 7 pm. Since I know and recognize my limitations I do not stretch it under any circumstances.
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Old 10th October 2017, 13:24   #17
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

PREPARING THE MIND:

You are more than half prepared for a long distance drive with the following
  • You have been doing it quite regularly and the next one too is just another long drive

  • You are aware of the benefits of certain start times and your family also is prepared for that - This can be super early, at dusk or nights as well

  • You are also aware of the implications of a bad start and how it can have cascading effects - Traffic, queues at booths, waiting time at hotels, reduced average speeds, anxiety, urge to make up for lost time and most importantly - Loss of patience that is very crucial for such drives

  • You are aware of the co-passengers who will tag along with you – Immediate family members who know you well, distant relatives who are with you in your car for a long distance for the first time, Friends who know you for short drives; At the end of such drives, few may never join you again but a lot will prefer to be driven only with you in future – This is like an appraisal for the driver in you to leave that impression forever
I would relate the above attributes to being mentally prepared and there is a direct correlation to your driving manners if any of the above criteria remains upset.

Apart from this, there are a lot of other other elements around us that also contribute quite heavily when it comes to mental preparedness:
  • Although one can plan, you cannot necessarily be choosy when it comes to food. At times, you may be deprived of your favorite food caused due to inordinate delays or If you have been clocking some very good average speeds – Mentally prepared is to be flexible with this aspect

  • You can kill a target but remember that target can kill you too – Never drive long distances with specific target in mind; What you did last month may not happen today due to various reasons and under no circumstances you shall rely on speeding (Dangerously) to make up for that loss – Learn to accept that reality. The answer to this is a well-planned start!

  • Stress free driving vs toll free driving : A tough choice we all have encountered many times. On a normal day, with a lot of time at disposal, I will pick scenic toll free roads but on a day that involves super long distances to cover, give me a tolled road any day where I don’t have to end up wasting my energy negotiating traffic in both directions that we typically see on a single carriageway

  • Respect others, in other regions : A car bearing an outside registration number throwing tantrums is a recipe for road-rage. Avoid that and always drive under the realization that you are only passing by a particular region as part of your drive. We have seen this happen crossing bypasses of major towns and cities where there is a lot of local traffic that can often irritate you. Patience comes to rescue here
PREPARING THE BODY:

Now if you are mentally prepared, being physically prepared is cakewalk as the mind controls the actions of the body while on the move. However, I will include few points referring to physical preparation too:
  • Sleep is a very important element – Sleep very well before the drive and while you do this, ensure you don’t have pending items that keep reminding you about it while you sleep. It can essentially spoil your sleep

  • Choose a car which is more comfortable for you and comfortable for the co-passengers. No one else but you who will be driving it are the best decision maker – Your body, your sitting posture, your stance of driving & hence your car

  • The right set of footwear matters a lot – Never end up driving with pressure on your toes – It should be your entire foot that should do all the work for you. A good footwear is a must

  • Stay hydrated, keep taste buds occupied – Water is very essential but at the same time you have to know that driving constantly without any conversation while others are sleeping puts you at risk. Time and again keep clove or chew a gum. Take a fresh one out every time you realise its bland now. A fresh taste hitting your tongue will rejuvenate you and I am serious

  • Never drive empty stomach – This is a killer. Sample a case of driving home from work in traffic while you are hungry for dinner. Now think about this on a highway where the next restaurant is 1 hour away. Don’t disrespect hunger when on wheels and always eat till you can satisfy your hunger. Incidentally for me, I always eat very well whenever I am driving than at home. Food is the fuel for me to burn the fuel that’s in my car’s tank and that better be filling for me – None of the sleep inducing foods have ever bothered me. I feel more relaxed and happy to drive when I have eaten well

  • Stretch your muscles – Arms, legs and back on regular basis – Toll booths are good breakpoints if its only you who want to take a quick break

  • Drive with both hands – Funny but true – At the end of the day after driving in excess of 1000 kms, you don’t want one hand to complain of shoulder pain. Always divide work between both hands and above all, it’s a safer practice too!

  • Slip into that comfortable clothing – You don’t want that button to hurt your waist because you wore something too tight, you don’t want that collar on the Tee shirt you wore to constantly get in between the seat belt around your neck area, you don’t want the fabric you chose to wear leave you asking for full speed AC or heater

  • Another very important point before I forget – Never rub your eyes with bare hands after driving for long distance. The salt due to sweat on your palm can result in burning feeling on your tired eyes. This comes from my own experience. Make sure you wipe your hands with wet tissues, apply sanitizer gel, let it dry on regular basis. The steering grip also gets a lot better with this frequent exercise and so does your hold on that gear knob
PREPARING YOUR CAR:

Preparedness for the most important element of the drive – Your vehicle:
  • All fluids – Engine oil, Transmission oil, Differential oil, Coolant, Wiper washer fluid, Brake fluids – Check, replace/top up if necessary – Carrying extra Engine oil and brake fluid can prove very helpful in distress

  • All Electricals – Headlights, Tail lamps, Indicators, Wiper, Horn – Spare bulbs come in handy and so do spare fuses

  • Tires – In healthy condition will be life saver

  • Brakes – No compromises there. Replace if you think they are good enough but not inspiring confidence in panic braking situations – You never know when you need them the most when driving at highway cruising speeds

  • Clutch – A healthy one will offer better acceleration and all round driving experience than the one which is weak and worn out. Your highway driving experience and FE will affect big time if you are driving on a worn out or a weak clutch

  • Basic tools – Wheel removal kit (Jack and Spanner), Tow Hook and rope (If heading to the mountains and bad roads), spare fuses, Puncture repair kit, Tire Inflator etc

  • Windscreen – You don’t want an old windscreen with signs of ageing and swirls to spoil your early morning or a late night drive. Always drive with a clean windscreen

  • Necessary & adequate luggage – Never load it in a way that it will block rear view from the inside. This view is more crucial on highways compared to outside rear view mirrors

My experience comes from a lot of trips undertaken in the past with mixed audience (copax) - Solo, Family, friends, relatives across the country in a not so famous highway car to start with - The WagonR which we eventually replaced with Ertiga.

Distances varied from mere 250 kms to 1750 kms in single go and with family on most of the occasions.

Last edited by paragsachania : 10th October 2017 at 13:30. Reason: spacing
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Old 10th October 2017, 16:35   #18
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

Few points which I follow for long outstation drives -

- Get your sleep cycle in sync with your drive plan. If I plan to drive till late in night, I go to bed late for a week or so before the drive. Similarly for an early morning start, I go to bed early for few preceding days to the drive. This way I don't end up sleepy during the drive. Also, along with the change in time make sure you get proper sleep of atleast 7 hours for few days preceding the drive.

- Do basic stretching exercises for few days before drive. This prevents to an extent any sprains which can happen during your sleep and end up spoiling your mood during your drive.

- Carry ORS solution - I mix ORS or electrolyte solution in water if its a whole day drive and sip it randomly along with regular water. This helps in avoiding headaches in evening.

- Carry fruits, non oily snacks in car to help keep boredom and hunger in control.

- Rather than increasing speed, I prefer to decrease duration of breaks to cover more distance.

- Gather as much information as possible about the route - Traffic conditions, road conditions, tolls, safety issues, hotels. This helps in avoiding anxiety in your planning goes awry.
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Old 10th October 2017, 18:29   #19
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

Few Points from me ,
  • Do not keep track of the estimated arrival time in your GPS, Trying to keep up with it will actually put tremendous amount of stress in your mind

  • Wear comfortable cloths / Footwear : I used to avoid tight trousers and Jeans on long drives to avoid sore bottom (Jeans especially)

  • Carry a good quality sunglasses / Plain glasses with anti glare, to block the direct sunlight on the day and the headlight beams of oncoming traffic. Driving at night especially in single roads is vary stressful to your eyes.

  • Keep Hydrated , I usually stay away from sweetened drinks. Just plain water is sufficient.

  • Keep some cushions , they might become handy if you are feeling lack of support in your seats.

  • Do not forget the importance of a power nap. 15 mins of a short power nap can do wonders to make sure you reach the destination safe.


Above all be in a good physical condition. Not only for long drives, but for a longer and enjoyable life

Last edited by Asish_VK : 10th October 2017 at 18:32.
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Old 10th October 2017, 19:03   #20
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

How a lesson was learnt by me - Of the wind, water and your body on long trips

One fine day in March 2010, I set out on an epic 700 km roadtrip on my Honda Unicorn from Manipal/Udupi on the West coast, to Chennai. Joining me on this coast-to-coast trip was my seasoned friend Mohan who was clad in a riding coat, jeans and shoes and he was riding a TVS Victor. What was I wearing? I was clad in my half-sleeved light T Shirt and jeans and open-toed sandals.

Barely 200 km into the trip covering the twisty/turning ghat roads and Sakleshpura, I started getting dehydrated. My back hurt, my lips chafed and I was soon riding standing up on the foot-stands, since my behind felt like a sack of needles. I kept stopping to drink and kept buying still more bottled water along the way but it was never enough. I was a liability on that trip, compared to my friend who was way more prepared for it all.

Somehow, I limped my way to my uncle's home in Hosur and crashed for the night while my friend went on home to Bangalore.

My uncle is in R&D in TVS and he gave an old racing jacket of his to me for my final leg of the trip to Chennai. And boy oh boy! I soon discovered the importance of insulating your skin from the blowing wind and the heat outside, to remain hydrated.

Old Physics lessons come to mind now - the rate of evaporation is directly proportional to the rate of flow of wind, the temperature of the wind and the saturation levels/humidity of the wind that blows over your skin. On long trips, we tend to drive fast over long distances and long durations - you are totally bound to lose buckets of water from your exposed skin surfaces.

With the racing jacket on, I still sweated in the sweltering heat but it all remained within the jacket, and I wasn't at all dehydrated since I kept drinking up.

Putting the lesson to use

Since then, whether I was driving my Swift in Chennai or my Nissan Rogue in the USA, my windows have remained rolled up. And I still have that old racing jacket that my uncle gave me, for the future when I will be riding a motorcycle on long trips.

Last edited by locusjag : 10th October 2017 at 19:17. Reason: Grammar! And some additions...
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Old 10th October 2017, 19:06   #21
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

Unless I am driving on a good quality highway like Bangalore - Hyderabad where I kept an average of 100KMPH (7am Hyderabad - 1 PM Lunch at Bangalore), I generally divide the distance by 60 and start from my home accordingly. Target is to reach the destination hotel latest by 8 PM. Now reverse calculate and just enjoy.

Long drives should not be planned beyond this in my opinion. You never know when and where you need to stop. I always would like to stop and take some snaps, have food or even drive hungry if I was stalled for few hours. I would also race and once I am the winner I let the other one go. Sometimes I listen to songs, sometimes I listen to the throttle.

It happens many times that I am too excited for the trip and can't sleep the previous night. But it never affects me. If the road, car and copassengers are in great condition my own state hardly matters.

Saying all that, the longest I have driven so far is Hyderabad to Mysore (around 700KM). I think I can drive another 100. But beyond that, I won't...why should I ?
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Old 10th October 2017, 19:18   #22
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
[b][u]And boy oh boy! I soon discovered the importance of insulating your skin from the blowing wind and the heat outside, to remain hydrated.
Indeed a wonderful point there!

To me, wearing jacket and full face helmet dates back to my Engineering days. I used to ride ~60 kms a day to and fro for 4 years in my Kinetic Honda then.

As a kid, never picked a helmet when I rode on day 1 at 0630am and by the time I reached college, my nose was flowing and eyes burning. Next whole week, I felt feverish and cold, more so due to riding in typical winter around Chikmagalur region.

Next weekend I had to make a trip to Bangalore to buy books (Good old days) and then dashed to JC road and picked up a full face helmet and then a jacket from Mota Royal Arcade.

Since then, for the next 4 years, I always rode to college with these 2 essentials while most of the folks wondered why the heck I am wearing a jacket in summers too!!

And this point is so relevant with cars - A friend thought me how to always roll up and drive and I have been only doing that, bet that city or highways.

Driving long distances with windows rolled down even for an inch can increase wind noise and disturb you every time you overtake a truck too. You soon begin to get tired. Everyone else may easily start noticing the speedo needle if windows are rolled down even when you are doing 90 KMPH but wont even realise your speeds if you have rolled them all up.

Time and again when fresh air is needed, toll booths come to rescue where you roll down for a minute or two (not applicable these days due to FASTag).
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Old 10th October 2017, 19:31   #23
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
I have covered 1000+ kms in day on 4 different trips till date. Among these, in two of them, we were 2 drivers sharing the wheel while in the other two, I was driving all alone.
I have also done several trips covering 600-700 kms/day, being the lone driver. I would share the following points.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Initially I had to take breaks multiple times even for a 200 km trip. So if a person tells me that he wants to embark on a 1000 plus drive in a day and asks for tips, I will always request to take it slowly, one step at a time.
Simple science. Having completed a 7200km trip in 14 days including a 4 day break, and with frequent home trips of 1400km a day, I can vouch for a fact that it all boils down to the fact how realistic you are about the drive. Stay sane, dont exaggerate your ability perceptions. Remember you cannot beat nature. Play within limits lest we are a danger to ourselves as well as others on the road!

Last edited by aah78 : 10th October 2017 at 22:32. Reason: Please do not quote large posts entirely. Thanks!
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Old 10th October 2017, 20:06   #24
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

I have an unconventional tip although I'm not sure if everybody can relate to it -

Do not think much about next day's drive. Too much mental excitement about upcoming long trip can sometimes result in temporary insomnia (no sleep for an hour or two, even after you lie down on your bed).

If possible, make all plans (like packing) 2 days before the trip.
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Old 10th October 2017, 22:16   #25
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

I feel that all the above are extremely valid points, but apart from fitness for long drives, I also feel it is important to be fit during the long drive.

It is important to take short 'stretch' breaks after every 2-3 hours of driving, since all our bodies often get tired even by sitting in the same position for a long time. If such breaks are not taken, it often may lead to back pain, toe aches and the like.

Hence, it is imperative to take a 'stretch' break and also remain well hydrated to prevent fatigue and drowsiness.
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Old 11th October 2017, 00:05   #26
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

I like this topic of discussion. I have covered nearly 13 states of our nation on my KTM Duke 390 and here are some of personal insights, with or without a support car.

Preparing yourself:
  • The morning of the ride, be sure to stretch your joints and not overdo it. Be considerate towards your tissues. They've awoken after ages!
  • Study the route on Google Maps. Better, on the satellite version. That helps you comprehend the areas that are habituated and have traffic snarls. It also helps you locate fuel stations, toll gates and dhabas to rest. Be so acquainted to the road and junctions that you don't need to look down to the navigation pane.
  • Sleep. I can't stress how important this is. During my initial riding days, the mere mention of a ride pumped my adrenalin up to such an extent that I couldn't sleep enough. That took it's toll - had a lot of close shaves and panic braking situations. Ensure that you have at least 7 hours of undisturbed sleep before a ride. Remember, you are 10 times more vulnerable to accidents than a car driver.
  • Make sure you have enough cash for fuel and food. Rural India has very few digitally literate fuel stations, so make sure you are stocked in currency. Divide them. Keep some in your wallet, some in your tank bag and some in your saddle bag. It helps, in multiple ways.
  • ORS and Water. You can omit keeping your chain lube bottle but never forget these two components. Our climate is largely unforgiving towards motorcyclists and hence, dehydration is the chief reason for fatigue. ORS keeps you going till the next stock. Always have it replenished. It's an under-rated boon for me.
  • Your mentality matters the most when it comes to your well being. You are on a leisure ride and not on a deadline. Ride sane, ride careful and make sure your adrenaline supported bursts of speed are well within sanity. A split second of error of judgement, and you're history. In a car, you have a chance of survival. In a motorcycle, you most probably don't.

Preparing your ride:
  • By default, get it serviced. Get the torque figures right. Get the brake pads right. Get the bike as physically capable as you.
  • Lube the chain. This is your go-to-thing for determining your bike's performance during a long ride. It will withstand muck, grime, sand and snow depending on how properly you maintain it.
  • Fuel. Make sure your fuel is of respectable quality. Never stop at a shady fuel station. Try stopping only at a fuel station that's crowded even if it costs you a few minutes and park near the dispenser that's the most occupied. In this aspect, Bharat Petroleum is my most preferred brand followed by HP. Indian Oil comes last. Personal maladies.
  • Take breaks. You are not competing with anyone. There is time. The hotel manager will wait for you. The roads will not close. Ride on your own pace even it means taking a 10 minute break every 10 minutes. Don't follow peer pressure in a group ride and stop as they will, instead of your own. If anyone makes a mistake and crashes, it will be you. Not them. Ride on your own terms and conditions.
  • Your documents. You never know when the cop will jump out of the bushes and trust me, they love targeting geared bikes on bikes that have a hint of good paint/sticker on them. They will hound you for every document except your birth certificate. Have them all and be confident and polite in your answers. You have not broken the law if you have ridden under your limits in a sane and acceptable manner.

Good luck and Godspeed to all.

Last edited by barcalad : 11th October 2017 at 00:13.
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Old 11th October 2017, 01:06   #27
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

My preparations for long trips.

Give the car a full checkup of all fluids, electricals, tyres including spare, top-up fuel.

Download offline Google maps for the area I plan to drive through. In case of poor data connectivity too we are on the safer side.

Do all packing by evening.

I go to sleep by 7. Family has strict instructions to not wake me up what may ever come. The kids will be put to sleep only at their normal time. That way they will sleep for a better part of the journey.


Wake up by 2:30 and leave by 3. Familiar roads will be covered in the first 2-2.5 hours when it's still dark. Unknown roads will be after daybreak.

Even if I know the route - where to take exits, turns etc, the GPS will always be on.

This way I have a clear idea of the road ahead. Stuck behind a slow truck on a curvy hill section two lane road? No worry. Check on the map to see when the road straightens out, wait till I get there, if no oncoming traffic is there, overtake. Gives an idea of side roads joining the main road too in unmarked roads.

Occasionally tilt the ORVMs to check on the rear tyres.

During darkness check the reflection to the headlamps on the vehicle ahead if both headlamps are working.

Clean headlamps whenever a break is taken during darkness.
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Old 11th October 2017, 01:55   #28
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

I for one love roadtrips. Have transversed most of North India either for work or for leisure. A few years back, I had a client in Chandigarh, which meant 2-3 trips to that city in a month. That time, most of the route was under construction and it used to take 6 or even 7 hours sometimes to cover 250 kms. Once the highway was complete, I did a lot more trips to the city at a normal pace and easily covered the distance under 4 hours which included one tea/coffee/sutta break. I even did to and fro in one day, which meant 500 kms of highway driving, plus around 60-70 kms of city driving and working also

In the last few years, the thirst for roadtrips to the himalayas has increased and I have gotten very comfortable doing long distance drives. The actual distance of these drives has been less compared to highways (500-600 kms) but the drives have easily been about 15-20 hrs of me being the only person behind the wheel. Few years back, I did Delhi- Kasol in 16 hrs (being a weekend) where we started at 11 PM and reached at 3 PM next day and I was okay next evening also. That gave me the confidence to undertake more such drives. More recently I drove to Spiti and did a 20 hr haul from Delhi to Tapri (near Sarahan in Himachal Pradesh). Next was a trip from Delhi to Tirthan via Jalori Pass which also took 19-20 hrs. More recently, I did Delhi to Tosh in 18 hrs (long weekend woes) and now I can say I have gotten very comfortable with these kind of long hauls. There is a certain routine which I try to stick to in order to do a hassle free journey:

I start from Delhi at 10 PM. No matter how much I try, sleep is not possible the night before a trip. Have tried this for many years but failed everytime. I come home from work in the evening, pack for the trip, eat a light dinner (or pack something for the night) and start out at 10. Starting at 10 PM is a very strategic decision as it gives me the advantage of empty roads in the city and crossing the border before 11 PM, post which truck traffic increases on the ring roads because of the border entry rules for trucks. If for some reason I cannot start at 10 PM, then I prefer waiting it out and starting at 12:30- 1 AM. There is no point leaving in between. Then, once we hit the highway, I am okay if the passengers want to sleep for sometime. The empty roads and music are my perfect companions during those hours. Then, around 3- 4 AM, I stop at a safe spot and take a 1 hour power nap (usually its the Mc Donalds just before you hit Chandigarh, if going on that route) This power nap gets me recharged and then I can easily continue on for the next day till late evening. The key is to take ample breaks and stay hydrated in order to avoid fatigue during the rest of the journey. This way, I also get the advantage of covering the plains during night, which otherwise can be a downer during daytime in summer months (which is like, 8 months in a year ) Also, if the journey is supposed to be spread out over a few days, I make sure that we do not have a set destination as a stopover and I never ever do an advance hotel booking for such trips. The idea is to carry on till the time me and the passengers are comfortable. For example, when the plan was to do Delhi to Spiti, we started off at 1 AM instead of the usual 10 which meant losing out on that initial cannonball run. Which in turn gave us lots of traffic jams around Shimla and Narkanda. Now, the idea was to reach Sarahan, which was an ideal spot for our next day excursion but we broke journey at Tapri instead, because of bad roads for the last 20 kms. This flexibility of not planning a stopover in advance is awesome and it really takes away the stress of reaching that set destination. Not booking an accomodation in advance also helps if one decides to push some more and proceed further than the intended destination of the day.

In a nutshell, the distance has been a mere 600 kms but I have driven for 20+ hours on multiple occassions without breaking a sweat. What remains to be seen though, is how plausible this would be, if I were to do a highway drive (say Delhi- Mumbai). My theory is that the hilly terrain keeps you occupied as you need a lot of concentration. Cruising at 100 kmph on a 4-6 lane highway will be easier for sure, but it will be a little boring as compared and boring comes with fatigue too. Nonetheless, I do have plans to do various long hauls on inter state highways in the near future. Lets see how this system works then and maybe then I would be able to find a comfortable "kilometres in day" figure for myself.
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Old 11th October 2017, 10:54   #29
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

Hi,

have done multiple 790 kms drive from Mumbai to Abu Road and back in last 4 years.

would like to share some points which i feel are critical for making this trip Safe and Relaxing.

a) Drive as per Road Condition and not as per time schedule eg. if the roads allow drive fast otherwise drive as roads allow

b) Overtaking is ok but not at expense of safety. Again if you are running behind schedule you will have strong urge to overtake at will instead of respecting the road condition

c) Sip Plain Water as much as possible. Carry 3 litres with straw or sipper and this will help you tremendously.

d) carry a thermos with hot tea and this will refresh you.

e) take a power nap after 400 kms for 40 minutes ( this may seem inconsequential but when i started following this practice my entire family found it made a huge difference in the drive experience )

f) Control your EGO - no road rage, if someone overtakes or makes dangerous move just relax and continue to do your thing

g) MUSIC - have saved the songs in my pen drive as follows 1 old song followed by 2 new songs then again 1 old song. this kind of keeps me focused and everyones need in family is taken care off. ( eg. i am good with old and new songs, daughter and wife likes only new songs, My Mom likes only Old Songs )

h) do enjoy the drive and view it offers instead of focusing on destination.

Buy a car which is comfortable on long drive and gives you good mileage ( i own a Toyota Corolla )

Thank you,
Deepak
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Old 11th October 2017, 14:09   #30
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

A very apt and timely thread, especially when with capable vehicles and better roads, long drives are becoming a norm. Long drives come with their own set of fun and caution and unfortunately the human body is not as accustomed to this stress as is the vehicle you might be driving.

With the blessings of fellow driving enthusiasts and TBHP, I have managed quite a few long drives and rides and would surely like to share a few thoughts.

Some of my drives/rides: (all as solo driver)
Bangalore - Agra - Dehradun - Kasauli and back : 5500 kms (Ecosport)
Bangalore - Hyderabad - Sagar and back : 3200 kms (Celerio)
Bangalore - Gokarna - Murudeshwar and back : 1500 km (Ecosport)
Bangalore - Pondicherry - Chidambaram - Tranquebar and back : 1300 kms (Ecosport)
Multiple Bangalore to Hyderabad/Pondicherry/coimbatore drives (Both cars)
Solo Bike rides : Multiple >500 kms drives on RE Thunderbird 350cc

My few cents on long distance driving:

1. Know your ability : We all are humans and we often tend to stretch beyond limits. But on a long distance ride, just simply knowing the point where you need to say "Enough" is of utmost importance. It could come from physical strain, visibility issues etc, but you need to be honest with yourself.

2. Dont be afraid to acknowledge your limits : I know a lot of people who will stretch their drives just to prove a point, especially if you have friends who drive longer than you can or are comfortable driving in the night. There is no point proving anything to anybody.
Just plan your travel as per your limits, you will enjoy the long drives much better.

3. Know the limits of your co-passengers : On a long drive, the atmosphere inside the car has a major impact on your own mental state. Know the limits of your co-passengers and respect that. Whether it is a winding road, night travel or long drives.

4. Know your routes : Our over reliance on technology has made us use our brains far lesser. Ofcourse Google maps is a boon, but study your routes before starting off. Knowing the names of cities/towns enroute is a great exercise I follow. It ensures I can ask for the right directions when stuck, have a geographical view of my route in my mind, and my confidence eases the tension out of my drive. The benfit, you might just have the option of a small detour to visit some beautiful place that you would passed by normally.

5. Soothing music : Taste of music is surely to the liking of an individual, but I avoid loud thumping music while driving. It strains your brain much faster and chances of you loosing concentration are higher.

6. Food and Water : Always keep yourself hydrated. Plain water is the best. Coffee for a few times helps stay attentive, but don't use it to avoid sleep. NO Redbull please. That's the worst thing to have.

7. Relieve yourself frequently : On our highways, clean toilets often are in extreme scarcity, but try to relieve yourself as and when needed and don't stretch your bladder control. It's a botheration you don't want to have at an unsafe stretch of road. Also, most important, please take care that your co-passengers get to relieve themselves also, specially ladies. In case washrooms are unavailable, try petrol pumps, they are often clean enough to get through the job. Please respect this requirements of ladies, they often don't speak up till things are out of control. A petty thing, but important.

8. Don't ever get into road rage: There are enough idiots on the road to take the podium. Every overtake by a vehicle should not enrage your ego. Drive at your own pace and enjoy the drive. Fast speeds often make us miss the beautiful surroundings. Long drives are for the journey and not the destination.

9. Be prepared : Puncture kits, additional water, medicines, first aids, important phone numbers on a piece of paper (not only in phone), Road side assistance details, and fluid check of your car are of utmost travel. You can never predict what can happen on a drive, but your mind can be at piece that you are prepared for an eventuality. Know your tools, equip yourself to do basic puncture repair and tyre change. Your inability might make you vulnerable to being conned.

10. Enjoy the drive : Last but not the least, soak in the surroundings and the experiences of the drive. It is time to be a kid and not be judgemental. Soak in the experiences with the inquisitiveness of a kid, you will end up enjoying the drive even more. Evry mile crunched should add to your and the co-passengers' smiles.

Apologies for this long laundry list, but this is all my personal experiences and the advises received in this forum and from fellow drivers/riders. A beautiful thread this one.

Looking forward to my Bangalore to Kanyakumari drive next week.
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