I’d say that I’m quite a conciser of the motorway. I don’t drive on it that frequently but when I do I go in. I’m talking three/four/five hour journeys down south, usually with some sort of musical soundtrack to get me through. I feel like after a few trips to visit my friends along the M1 I’ve perfected the art of the long distance drive (it’s long distance for me anyway – someone who only has a 20 minute drive to work in a morning). These are the four things which can make a daunting drive a bit more manageable:
Know where you’re going
Seems obvious but stick with me. There’s nothing worse then getting three quarters into your journey and seeing a sign flash up saying ‘road closed between junction A and junction B on random motorway’ and thinking “am I going on that one?”. “Do I turn off before we get there”. If you know which main roads you’re going to be heading on throughout your journey then you won’t get the fear when a warning pops up that has nothing to do with you. Also, knowing where you’re going means that you can work out how long it’ll take you to get to each point, breaking up the journey and making it seem a bit less daunting.
Take at least one break
It took me a while to realise the importance of this one because as soon as I get into the car, all I want is to get there as fast as I can. This usually meant no stops, no food and no toilet breaks (not great thinking on my part). Now when I travel down, Watford Gap is my service station of choice. Not because it’s the best but it’s one of the last ones on the M1 before I head off on what I class as the ‘second leg’. It’s also usually half way through my journey so I know there’s not much more to go. Make sure to grab a toilet break (if you don’t need it now trust me you will in 15 minutes!) and get some food. Even better, take food with you and have a moment in your car when you don’t have to concentrate on lane changes or traffic lights.
Get something good to listen to
If you’re a music lover or a podcast obsessive put something on that will 1. Fill the time, 2. Be enjoyable and 3. Not distract you from the job in hand – driving a tin can at stupid speeds on a busy road! My usual plan is to listen to one playlist for the first few hours and then to switch it up once I’ve stopped for the rest of my journey. My favourite things to listen to are my musical playlist with songs from the Greatest Showman and Mean Girls the Musical, and also a good podcast which is usually At Home With or Happy Mum Happy Baby. Something easy listening as well as songs I can swing my little heart out to (badly, very badly).
I need to take my own advice here because from the minute I get in the car to the moment I’m on the drive at the other end, I’m constantly excited and desperate to arrive at my destination. You’ll get there when you get there. As long as you’ve given yourself enough time to get there, there’s no need to rush. Especially if it’s a long journey, like most of mine usually are, the time your sat nav tells you you’re going to get there isn’t going to be right. Add at least half an hour on. But no stress! Every mile you drive is a step closer to where you need to be so chill out and enjoy the ride.