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Old 12th April 2019, 22:21   #61
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

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Originally Posted by Surprise View Post
Very interesting thread.

I like to drive without a break of minimum 4-5 hrs at a stretch, so that we cover good distance & take the remaining part easy. One thing I observed, by the time I stop and walk out of the car after continual 4-5 hrs of driving, I experience a sort of light headedness. During this time, I wont make any move and just be there still. Will last for 5-10 sec and iam back to Normal.

Anyone else had this feel?
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Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
It is common when you sit cooped up for long duration. Some doctor told me it is postural hypo tension when I complained about this. It used to be common when I was driving sedans.



Once I switched to a suv, I adjust the seat close to the steering wheel and in this way, the lumbar support in the seat will allow me to press against it. So no more back pain and giddiness these days. But I still get pains in regions you never even knew they existed until you get a pain.



These days I try to restrict the maximum distance to about 500 km a day if possible due to these pains.
It could be due to lack of movement of limbs which hampers blood circulation through the body. While driving we have very little movement of the legs and some for the hands. Since blood pumping back from the lower part of the body into the heart is aided by the movement of muscle, this will get affected. I have observed that this is reflected in cramps or less sensation in the leg after a really long drive.

In a sedan, the driving posture is more towards lying down vs. a SUV where you upright. This difference in posture could be aiding the blood flow to certain extent.

I am no doctor and just used some high school biology learning to use in this above post. I could be wrong here. Also the seating postures will be different for different people and the effects will not be the same.

I am 6ft and find taller vehicles with upright postures to be much comfortable on long journeys as my legs remain straighter.
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Old 13th April 2019, 00:21   #62
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

Previously I used to do my long drives in a slightly "laid back" manner as most of us do while in the city. But constantly I would be bugged with lower back pain and neck pain to a certain extent.
In this position there is a substantial gap both between the lower back and the seat and, also form one's head and the head rest
Recently I have changed that position of driving.
While I have kept the seat squab at my previous setting, where my leg is not completely extended at full clutch depression, the back rest I have adjusted to exactly one notch lesser than the "comfortable position".
By this comfortable position I mean to say the position in which my wrist rests exactly on the top of the steering wheel.
The benefit of this position which I have realized, specially on long drives, is that my back is snugged nicely into the seat which completely eliminates any sort of lower back pain. Also, my head is much closer to the hear rest and I can actually use the head rest to support my head and neck which firstly, again eliminates neck pain and, in an unfortunate event of a collision, it definitely reduces the chances of a whip lash injury to a great extent.
Just my two cents
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Old 13th April 2019, 00:50   #63
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

Long distance driving is something I've always cherished and indulged in from a very early stage as a student and continued for over 2 decades now.

A lot of useful points have been covered here and I'd like to mention a few key ones from my experience.

1) You just can't undermine or ignore the importance of sleep before any long distance drive. T
There is always a tendency for everyone in the household to pack at the last minute and create lot of hustle-bustle, noise, stay awake very late in the night before the long drive.
Keep in mind that the very same folks will be happily sleeping almost the whole day in the vehicle during the drive and you're most likely to find yourself driving struggling with low levels of energy, low alertness, drowsiness while driving through the day if you haven't had atleast 7 to 8 hours of sleep the night before the drive.

So as a driver, keep in mind to finish your packing and any preparation well in advance and finish it latest by the evening before the journey. Ignore any excitement and ignore everyone and just go to bed on time. Your body will need that 7 to 8 hours of sleep before the drive. Never start a drive without getting adequate sleep - sleeplessness is highly risky.

2) 3 AM to 5 AM in the morning is the time when a human body by design is at its least level of alertness and there will be lots of drowsy drivers on the road during this period. Though there is a popular notion that one should start early and reach early, it is better to start around 6 am just before sunrise and avoid/minimize the probability of encountering the drowsy drivers between 3AM and 5AM. So its better to avoid starting very early before 5:30 AM.

3) On the same lines, every human being needs to sleep at some period every 24 hour interval, so why not sleep normally at night the way we are designed to instead of driving in the night and sleeping during the day?
I realize that driving during the night has its own charms, but it also comes with significant risks especially if traveling with family. So its better to drive during the day and sleep at night unless its an emergency or an urgent and unavoidable situation and never on a holiday/leisure drive.

4) Also, on really long drives spanning thousands of KMs, you just cannot do it in a day. Plan realistically to cover about 600 to 700 KMs the first day and about 500 to 600 KMs or lesser depending on the road from the second day onwards.
The reason being: During the first day, you'd be starting from home and have the luxury to start at 6 AM and drive for a longer 12 hour period (6AM to 6 to 7 PM)
The second day onwards, if you're put up at a hotel say with breakfast included, you'll anyway start around 9AM from the hotel and have about 9 hours max of driving time until 6 to 7 PM. So realistically plan about 500 KMs per day when starting out from a hotel after breakfast.

5) One of the key aspects of maintaining your endurance and high energy levels throughout the day is to keep your mind calm and relaxed at all times as a driver.
This translates to never driving rash and fast with the intention to reach the destination quickly. On a clear road, keep your cruising speed in check within speed limits. Overspeeding takes a lot of your concentration and will tire you quickly and result in fatigue which is dangerous.
Leave your ego at home and if somebody wants to overtake, just let them pass with a happy mind, it just means that their average speed is higher. Don't get excited and tempted to speed up, just continue cruising steadily and calmly. You'll most likely encounter that same car that overtook you rashly parked somewhere down the road a few 100 hundred KMs later or even earlier with the driver cooling his fatigued brain.

6) Over time, I've realized that its better not to carry too many processed food items like aerated/carbonated soft drinks, sugar laden juice, cakes, biscuits etc in large quantities and end up eating them. Simply not a healthy option. You can have a small bag of these processed foods just as a backup. Carry lots of water. Its always good to stop for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the correct time and not delay your regular eating schedule. Keeps everyone in the car sane, balanced, relaxed and happy.

7) Avoid using dark sunglasses unless its required such as an extremely hot bright day or if you're facing glare from the sun in front. Using dark sunglasses over long distances during dull/cloudy weather can actually impair your vision or make you feel drowsy due to the relative darkness around your eyes. My personal preference is to see things the way they are bright and vivid and not masked by the tint of the sunglasses and to wear sunglasses only if unavoidable such as glare.

8)Take that bio-break when you need to (at the appropriate place of course). Never stop at isolated spots along the way that does not look safe. Keep that engine running when stopping at an isolated spot for a quick stop. Be familiar and practice how to quickly change a punctured tyre. Stretch your knees (especially the right knee) by stopping at regular intervals. Avoid indulging in serious conversations and arguments while driving, give it your 100% and stay alert throughout the long drive. Never ever take your eyes off the road. Only do long distance driving if you have the heart and passion for the same and not by compulsion/peer pressure or just because someone else is doing it.

Last edited by for_cars1 : 13th April 2019 at 01:06.
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Old 13th April 2019, 10:09   #64
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

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Originally Posted by for_cars1 View Post
Long distance driving is something I've always cherished and indulged in from a very early stage as a student and continued for over 2 decades now.
Thanks for writing it down. I follow all these except point-7, as I will be not be comfortable with the throw of AC onto eyes combined with bright sun light. On point-5, I do drive fast to cover the distance in the first half of the day as much as I could and relax it during the second half. It took sometime for me to figure out the thin line between driving fast and rash
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Old 13th April 2019, 16:08   #65
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Default Re: Physical & Mental preparation for a long distance drive

These are points I could not stress enough myself. Thank you sharing them.

Adding a little something from a motorcyclists point of view.

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Originally Posted by for_cars1 View Post
1) You just can't undermine or ignore the importance of sleep before any long distance drive.
This is just basic commonsense, no idea why some of us would let ego have a go at this decision and end up acting stupid endangering not only our lives but also the lives of those around us.

Recently a friends father met with an accident due to falling asleep at the wheel, and this was not his first or second time doing so. Same is the case with professional drivers, it hurts their ego to admit this, a couple of friends drive cabs, mostly interstate and the main reason they do so is because they rack-up trips well beyond what is normally possible for a human being.

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2) 3 AM to 5 AM in the morning is the time when a human body by design is at its least level of alertness and there will be lots of drowsy drivers on the road during this period.
This period is referred to as the 'Devil's Hour' for a reason, but yet the number of riders riding at night are going up due to the harsh summers Kerala is facing.

Some seasoned riders even planning rides that start at midnight.

It is best to start a ride at around 6AM and end it well before the sun goes down as Dusk is the time when our visibility is at its weakest, drivers/riders who don't bother turning their lights on are just making it worse.

The body by design releases Melatonin when it gets dark and it is just a matter of time and luck before something turns for the worse when riding in the dark.

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5) One of the key aspects of maintaining your endurance and high energy levels throughout the day is to keep your mind calm and relaxed at all times as a driver.
This is why I hate the ones who use intercom's while riding a motorcycle. We as human beings aren't designed to multi-task without compromise.

Returning from a reasonably long interstate run spanning a few days and covering about 600 km's,on the day when the following incident happened, my co-rider who was riding in front of me while talking over the phone via his helmet intercom, he had to witness an accident where another mans head was crushed by a state transport bus, the incident left him momentarily flustered and when asked to take a break he went berserk and wanted to reach home A.S.A.P.

Luckily I was able to pacify him and convince him to resume riding at a comfortable pace, convincing him that saving a few minutes would seem futile if something bad where to happen, especially considering that we were reentering Kerala via the Southern side, read worst possible road conditions.

Quote:
6) Over time, I've realized that its better not to carry too many processed food items like aerated/carbonated soft drinks, sugar laden juice, cakes, biscuits etc in large quantities and end up eating them.
Better to not consume anything with sugar, refined carbs(basically sugar) or caffeine in it at all.

Though you get a momentary kick out of it, nearing the end of the ride it sends your body crashing faster than you can anticipate it.

When I was young and less informed we were enamored by the concept of Endurance Rides and did a 1340+km's ride consuming Energy Drinks mostly, the TN heat and congested route plan didn't help as well. Nearing the end of 24 hours, I was severely dehydrated and disoriented to the point of hallucinating, was lucky to find an auto-guy kind enough to take me home, had to leave the motorcycle at a petrol bunk.

Quote:
8)Take that bio-break when you need to (at the appropriate place of course). Never stop at isolated spots along the way that does not look safe.
Bio-breaks are the best indicators of dehydration, lesson learn't from stupidity was to call the ride off the moment you felt like peeing but no pee came, because what follows next is way more severe.

But then it is also critical to not take way too many breaks than ideal, because our attention span is limited and it is only a matter of hours before we end up being at risk.

"A minutes wasted off the highways is a mile more on it."

Ride Safe,
A.P.

Last edited by ashwinprakas : 13th April 2019 at 16:13.
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