When travelling as a group within the United States and Canada, it is substantially cheaper to drive to your destination instead of fly. Actually, I rather enjoy the drive. Since you lose a day or two of vacation after spending most of those hours in security check points, waiting at the terminal, etc. You might as well spend the time seeing the landscape, meeting the small town locals, and enjoying local cuisine along the way. As the Emerson stated, it is not the destination, it is the journey.
However, driving long periods of time increases your chances of driver fatigue, especially when driving at night. Driving fatigued is no funny business. Approximately 72,000 crashes, including approximately 800 deaths are to driving fatigued. The DOT tries to combat this by imposing regulations on commercial driving. Passenger drivers must have an 8 consecutive hour rest after driving no more than 10 hours.
Of course, being a group of friends or a family means the regulations do not apply to you, but it is a good regulation to live by. After all, nothing will derail the vacation completely than an accident due to driver fatigue. Here I have a few tips:
Having a “co-pilot” on any drive more than 2 hours is essential. This co-pilot should also stay awake with the driver, and help ensure the driver does not fall asleep.
- For any trip more than 6 hours, split the driving time with the co-pilot. Also, stay awake when you are in the role as co-pilot
- For any trip more than 12 hours, get a room about half way. Grab dinner there, and go to sleep, and continue your journey the next morning.
- Coffee is your friend. Good coffee is even better. Save yourself the crap the gas stations try to pass as coffee and brew your own iced coffee to bring with you. Fan of energy drinks? Try those as well, but be sure to watch out for the “crash” after it wears off.
Driving is a great way to not waste time at the airport, and to enjoy more of the journey to your vacation. It is generally cheaper, yet provides so much more in value. Drivers fatigue will ultimately ruin any good vacation, so do yourself a favour and rest.