Doesn’t it seem like more people are going on road trips these days? However, more people on the road means more accidents. Some of which are caused by fatigue and health issues that may contribute. Regardless of what you drive, by following these safe RV driving tips, you can minimize collisions and stress on the road.
When it comes to road tripping, many feel they have to drive 600-800 miles in a day. Because time is limited, drivers need to pay attention to their health instead of their vacation destination. So, here’s our driving tips to help you get there safe and sound.
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SAFE RV DRIVING TIPS Staying Alert and Healthy on the Road
Take Turns Driving
Our first driving tip for RVers is if you’re going on a road trip alone, then this point is mute which you should just skim until the next section.
However, if you are road tripping with travel companions that are of legal driving age, why not split the driving? This will allow the driver to stretch their legs out in the passenger seat.
As well, by switching out drivers, the driver will be more alert as they get rested while the other drives.
Shorten your travel day
I see so many on social media brag about how many miles they travel in a day; whether in an RV or automobile.
Oftentimes, motorhome drivers will brag about driving 600-800 hours straight. While yes, motorhomes and even luxury cars are super comfortable to drive, you still have to deal with road fatigue.
But also, you could be doing your own body a disservice by not getting out of the driver’s seat and taking breaks.
Now that we’re older and our stamina isn’t what it used to be when we were young 20somethings, we’ve slowed down on travel days.
We, like most full-time RVers use 3-3-3 rule. Because by the time you figure in fuel stops, potty breaks, lunch and snacks and getting out to stretch our legs, that makes for a full travel day.
One of the biggest culprits of roadway accidents is driver’s inattentiveness to their driving.
As the motor vehicle operator, you are the captain of your ship. All you should be doing IS driving; not texting, not fumbling with the GPS or radio, or tending to the kids fighting behind you.
In other words, you are inescapably responsible for the lives of those in your automobile, truck or RV. As well, your actions of inattentiveness will affect others as well.
So, if you have a travel companion, agree that the driver’s job is simply to drive. The passenger’s job is to take care of everything else; including keeping the kids quiet in the back and the dog or cat from puking.
However, if you’re a solo road traveler, just make certain you’re well rested, have your tunes already programmed, GPS set, and put your smartphone on silent mode. Those who call you while you’re driving can leave a message.
Take time to eat healthy
Isn’t it funny, when one thinks of road trip snacks, they think of chips, cheese puffs, crackers, soda, Red Bulls and Rockstar high-octane, caffeine energy drinks.
Unfortunately, those types of snacks are loaded with empty carbs and tons of sugar which can make you very tired after the sugar rush dips into the abyss of fatigue. You can do better than that.
Most convenient stores, travel centers and truck stops now offer healthy options such as apples, oranges and bananas, yogurt and fruit cups, raw veggies and dip, etc.
We’re also noticing they are carrying single-serve protein trays that include cheese, nuts and meats as well as even hard boiled eggs.
But, if you’d rather, pack your own snack bag or cooler to save money and know exactly what you’re eating, how old it is and where it comes from.
Concentrate your findings of the perfect road trip snacks that are healthier options such as hard boiled eggs, carrot and celery sticks, low carb tortillas, apples, oranges and bananas and beef jerky.
Your body will thank you for it! Plus, your road trip will be a much better experience because you feel better.
✰✰ READ MORE ✰✰ Money Saving RV Travel Tips: How to Cut Costs on the Road
Lay off the sodium and salt
Regarding those road trip snacks mentioned above, while they may be fun food for your fun road trip, they aren’t healthy to begin with.
Those bags of chips, cheese puffs, crackers and other processed snacks are loaded with salt or sodium, fake salt and other ingredients you may not be able to pronounce.
By laying off the salt and sodium, you’re essentially helping your body not retain water that causes uncomfortable bloating and swelling; especially in your lower extremities.
Plus, there are many more added health benefits by minimizing your salt intake as well.
According to Harvard School of Health,
“too much sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It can also cause calcium losses, some of which may be pulled from bone. Most Americans consume at least 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day, or about 3400 mg of sodium, which contains far more than our bodies need.”
Another one of our safe RV driving tips is anytime you drive your RV or any vehicle for that matter, you should always have a water bottle with you. We LOVE our reusable Hydro Flask filled with Berkey water!
Drinking lots of filtered water while driving helps your circulatory system and keeps your heart beating properly. Plus, hydration helps to alleviate headaches, joint and muscle aches.
So, stay away from sugary drinks or those caffeinated drinks that do more harm than good.
✰✰ READ MORE ✰✰ Why you need a Berkey in your RV
Stop often to stand up and stretch
Especially inexperienced roadtrippers and RV travelers, RVers tend to drive as far as they can to get to their destination quicker. Sometimes, that means sitting in the driver’s seat for 3, 4 or even 5 hours. Sitting for long periods of time is just plain UNhealthy!
First, consider that your bladder is holding onto all those toxins for a long time. This can result in you getting sick or a urinary tract infection.
Second, you need to get out often, stretch those legs and move. Because if you don’t, you chance getting blood clots in your legs. That runs you the risk of bigger health issues down the road.
I’ve found ever since getting my Apple Watch, I’m more attentive in getting up every hour to stand, move and monitors my steps, calories and heart rate.
This kind of personal digital product is a great tool for driving too! My watch will alert me every hour to stand and stretch. It helps to remind me to get that blood pumping and flowing to those lower extremities instead of just sitting there…clotting.
My Apple Watch also Bluetooths to our smartphone GPS that alerts me using a vibration of upcoming turns, exits or instruction. So yeah, get you one of those! You’re welcome!
Walk or exercise
Speaking of stopping to stand and stretch, you should also get in at least a short walk. Even if it’s around the parking lot, your body is moving.
And hey, the dog’s gotta go out too, so you’ll need to go walk him anyway. A lot of rest areas have dog walks or picnic areas you can take a stroll around which makes for a small bonding moment for you both.
Another option of getting a little exercise and wake up those lazy bones is find a curb or steps. Do some up and down stepping for about 2-3 minutes to get your ticker beating faster.
Even that little bit of exercise will help improve your heart health, put your lungs to work and get those ligaments and joints moving. In other words, move it or lose it!
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I admit, I’m not into yoga because I’m not pretzel material. You’ve seen that Life Alert commercial, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”? Yeah, that’s me when it comes to Yoga. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
I have read and heard that doing some simple yoga stretches can help get those muscles loosened and joints working like they should.
Doing simple yoga stretches even before you get into the driver’s seat, between stops and after a long day of driving can definitely benefit your health; both physically and mentally.
Our friends at RVShare put out a great safe driving tips article, Tight from your RV Travels? These 10 Yoga Poses Will Help You Loosen Up.
Road trip music
One of the ultimate safe RV driving tips is to stay alert on the road. Keeping to the beat of your favorite tunes may help keep you company during your long drive or road trip.
Unfortunately though, some automobiles and even RVs lack quality sound systems; including our own Winnebago View. But that doesn’t mean you’re forced to listen to your off-key signing or humming.
There are some affordable, portable bluetooth speakers that provide high quality sound for your favorite beats. Or, you can listen to your Amazon music playlist or Pandora provided you have connectivity.
You can also listen to your favorite podcasts to keep you bright eyed and bushy tailed or on the edge of your seat. Some of our favorite podcasts:
- Lady Overlander Radio
- “The Way I heard it” – by Mike Rowe
- “They Had to Go Out” – Coast Guard No Shitters, Stories and Interviews
- The Blogging Millionaire (well, because I want to be?)
In fact, we use our speaker in the cab of our motorhome and Jeep because our audio and speaker systems suck. Since we don’t want to spend a crap ton of money ripping out our cockpit console to replace them, a portable speaker does the job just as well.
An important driver’s tip regarding music in your vehicle or RV is to not play it so loud that you can’t hear what’s around your vehicle or your passengers who may be warning you of things you don’t see.
✰✰ RV DRIVING PRO TIP ✰✰ NEVER use earbuds or earphones when driving an automobile, truck or RV. Noise-cancelling earphones and ear buds prevent you from hearing emergency vehicles, sirens, and other motorists and motorcycles. In many states headphones or earbuds covering both ears is prohibited and driver’s doing so can be cited and fined for wearing them.
Stop to De-stress
Regardless if you’re on a road trip, commuting to work or just going to the grocery store, it’s super important to not get stressed while driving.
Understandably, there are certain triggers that can cause a stressful drives such as heavy traffic, construction zones, inattentive and rude drivers, meeting deadlines, unfamiliar roads, etc.
Stressed out reactions are linked to higher aggression, which links to a higher risk for roadway accidents and motor vehicle collisions (including RVs!), according to a population-level analysis in transportation research.
However, there are helpful ways to help mitigate and alleviate stress or road rage while driving.
Geico (no, we weren’t paid to link to them) put out a worthy read, “Does Driving Stress You Out?” Check it out before plopping down and putting your RV in drive.
Get proper rest and sleep
If you’re like me, the night before a big road trip or long day of travel, I don’t won’t sleep well, if at all.
The excitement of the journey, wondering if I forgot something and of course, the fun I’m going to have once I get to my destination all roll around in my head at maximum vortex speed.
So, to help me relax, I’ll take in a good movie, a hot cup of chamomile tea and a little Melatonin (I take only 1-2 MG) gets me to fall asleep and stay asleep so I will be alert and ready for my next day’s adventure. Or, sometimes, I’ll just have a cup of Bedtime or CogniTea Deep Sleep Tea and be done with it.
You may find your own way of getting a good night’s sleep through bedtime meditation, soft music, read a good book or *ahem* shake that RV.
An effective way to wind down and drift off to lala land quicker is to turn off the blue screen at least an hour before bed. Which got me thinking, perhaps I should take my own advice.
Just a word to the wise, before taking melatonin or any other supplement, always consult with your physician first.
Driver’s seat cushion and back pillow
Unless you’re driving some posh Class A motorhome or $100,000 dually truck, we all know that the driver’s seat is sucks for long distances. Some RVs and automobiles or trucks don’t have fancy lumbar support in their driver seats…or heated seats…or even enough cushioning but I digress.
Therefore, you may have to improvise by getting the back and leg support you need.
Thanks to my years of bouncing and slamming my body on the high seas in the Coast Guard, I suffer sciatica from sitting for hours without getting up.
I found a comfortable sciatica relief cushion works wonders for my lower back pain. I also use a lumbar cushion to help support my lower back and maintain proper posture while driving or sitting in the passenger seat.
Wear Compression Socks
A little secret I’ve learned from my younger days of flying long distances is to wear a pair of compression socks.
According to WebMD,
“compression stockings can keep your legs from getting tired and achy. They can also ease swelling in your feet and ankles as well as help prevent and treat spider and varicose veins. They may even stop you from feeling light-headed or dizzy when you stand up.”
Compression sock therapy is just as effective when driving an RV or automobile. Those high tight knit knee socks aren’t just for our elders.
Yeah, they look geeky as hell if you’re wearing shorts, skirt or dress. But hey, they do work some calf hugging magic.
Another secret to share a secret with you is before knowing what compression socks even were, I would just wear soccer socks. They do practically the same thing. While neither are very stylish, they do help keep my lower legs from cramping!
All of that said, before running out to buy compression socks or even soccer socks, always consult with your doctor first.
Elevate legs in the evening
Speaking of feet, now that you’re finished driving for the day, it’s time to sit back and relax. A great way to help with the swelling in your legs and ankles is to elevate them.
Since we’re full-time RVers in a tiny motorhome, we don’t have big recliners to sit and elevate our legs. As well, since space is premium, getting an ottoman isn’t the answer either.
So, date night is dinner and a movie in our sexy pajamas in bed!
Final thoughts on RV driving tips to keep you safe on the road
As you have just read, staying alert and healthy on the road is key to preventing accidents. Regardless if your safely driving your RV, pulling a camper or just road tripping in your car, by following these simple cues will help keep you safe.
But also, these RV safe driving tips will help keep everyone else you share the road with safe too!
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