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Road trips are enjoyable and an excellent way to spend your vacation and free time if you love traveling. You need to plan for a successful trip.

When on a trip, breaks are vital since you get to relax your muscles after some hours behind the wheel, especially with long-distance travel. You can rest after every 2 hours of driving.

Make your stops in a safe area, and if you feel extra tired, you rest in your car or sleep as you prepare for the next day.

Let’s learn more about resting on the road and tips for sleeping in your car during your road trip.

How Frequent Should You Take Driving Breaks?

how often should a driver rest when taking a trip

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The breaks you take during your road trip depending on how you feel behind the wheel. You can consider taking a 10–15-minute break after a two-hour drive. Resting helps you keep alert and avoid driving more than eight hours daily.

The resting time should increase when driving at night since your body naturally wants to sleep. If you are going for a long trip and darkness sets in when you are on the road, it’s good you take frequent breaks and have fresh air to keep you awake.

When you feel you can’t continue with the journey, you should look for a hotel or a good parking space and take a nap to avoid fatigue-related crashes that occur most between 10 pm and dawn.

Here are some instances that need regular stops.

1. After Taking a Heavy Meal

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Taking a heavy meal is not advisable if you want to stay safe. After taking heavy meals, you become sluggish, affecting your concentration and reducing your reaction time. If you take the meal and can’t avoid driving, you should make more regular stops and stretch your body to relieve drowsiness.

Instead of taking too much food, have a takeaway, and you can stop on your road trip and take small amounts to keep alert.

2. When Using Medications that Cause Drowsiness

Some medications can cause drowsiness, and taking them when driving interferes with concentration. Don’t buy drugs over the counter when driving since they might affect your journey. Always talk to your doctor about most drug effects and check the warning on the packet.

After taking medication, more frequent stops are necessary, and have a co-driver to help out when you are tired.

3. When Traveling with Kids and Pets

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Kids and pets are demanding, and you should check on them regularly. Make frequent stops, check whether your furry friend has food and water, and ensure the kids are okay. 

Little children get bored with long trips, and you should allow them to step out after some hours of driving for fresh air and muscle relaxation.

Stopping allows you to check the car’s temperature and make it favorable for the animal. 

Remember to buckle up your pet or child after the stop.

How Do You Rest on a Road Trip?

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First, ensure you have all the necessities for a road trip which will make resting in your car effortless. Sometimes you will have to spend the night in your car and wait till dawn to continue your journey.

1. Locate a Good Parking Area

Check that you pick a safe resting area for the night. Ensure you check that the parking space allows overnight parking to avoid trespassing. Check the road signs to prevent earning traffic tickets.

Sleeping in your car makes the trip budget-friendly. The BLM has camping parks all over the country that allow you to stay overnight in your vehicle at a small fee.

Other sleeping area options include the camping grounds established by state and national parks, especially if you plan to visit the park on holiday. Don’t pack under the bridge or near trees.

Business parking lots will allow you to spend the night at a small fee, and some have laundry rooms where you will freshen up in the morning.

Check the overnight parking rules, and if the shop allows you to use the parking space overnight, be courteous enough to get some snacks for your trip from the store.

2. Put Your Luggage in Position

When planning a long trip, you should put your luggage in a position that will allow you to rest. Ensure you have the bedding for a comfortable sleep.

Store your luggage where you can easily access it when you want to remove something without getting out of the car.

3. Prepare the Sleeping Area

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With your back pillows, sleeping bag, or foldable mattress and bedding, your car will be a nice bed for the night. Ensure the beddings are enough for the kids or your trip mates.

A comfy blanket will keep you warm through the night, especially in winter. For a comfortable stay and to create more space, lay your seats down. Remove the clothes and books from the bed.

Use the window covering or an oversized T-shirt to cover the window for privacy when sleeping. Remember to lock your doors before you sleep. Keep your rechargeable lights near you for safety.

4. Put on Extra Clothes

When traveling during winter, you must keep warm, and a blanket may not be enough. Put on a sweater, sweatpants, and socks to avoid catching a cold that makes your trip dull, or you might be forced to cut it short and visit the doctor.

If it gets too cold in the middle of the night, you can turn on your car for a few minutes, and you don’t have to worry about CO2 buildup if your tailpipe is clear and you’ve parked outdoors. Try hugging your hot water bottle if you aren’t falling asleep.

Use a sleep mask or your pair of sunglasses to prevent distraction by light, plus you can get some earplugs to avoid noise.

When sleeping, you can put on some cool music that keeps you relaxed and put your raincoat and umbrella near you.

Final Thoughts

When going for a trip during the holiday, your concentration on the road is vital, and you should force yourself to drive whenever you feel sluggish. Have enough rest before the trip day, and make regular stops to stretch out or get some food for more energy.

Remember to pack all the essentials for your trip, from blankets, food, sleeping bags or mattress, and neck pillow, among others. Look for a safe area to pack your car overnight. Organize your accessories before getting back on the trip to avoid distractions.