Getting to Your Destination
Your vehicle is tuned up, you are buckled up, and you're ready to go, but not so fast. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your road trip is as safe as possible, and most of them will help save you money, too.
Driving Music When selecting music for the trip, keep in mind two things: Unless you have satellite radio, you can't expect the radio stations to carry you cross-country. Bring along CDs you can sing along to that will make that long drive bearable.
Map It Out There's the matter of how you break up your driving. If you just get in the truck and drive, knowing you want to go, say, 750 miles that day, time is almost guaranteed to drag. But, if you look at the map first and divide the day into five 150-mile hops, time will pass relatively quickly, since you can always tell you're making progress.
Move Your Blood In addition to eye fatigue, driving long distances can cause leg cramps, decreased situational awareness, and even a potentially life-ending condition known as falling asleep behind the wheel. The best prevention is very simple: Get out of the truck and move around. When you stop for fuel or food, do some stretches, jog in place, chase a Frisbee, or do your interpretation of the Chicken Dance. Forget about how odd you look-no one knows you! Do whatever it takes to get your circulation moving.
Split The Drive If you are traveling with other drivers on a run, the optimal way to divvy up the driving is by a two- or three-person (if possible) rotation. With two or three drivers, it's possible to drive continuously, except for fuel, food, and restroom breaks.
With today's ridiculous fuel prices, it's more important than ever to make sure you are getting the best fuel economy for your dollar. There are several quick, simple, and inexpensive things that you can do yourself to save gas.
Aggressive vs. Moderate Driving This is gonna hurt. Stop dragging your truck on the way to a show just because you're trying to impress the girl in the Honda with the Roxy sticker on the back window. Trust us, she doesn't care. Also, don't mash the gas when you accelerate. This tip alone can save you unbelievable amounts of gas.
Lower Speeds Saves Gas Remember that thing called the speed limit? On most highways, it is either 65 or 70 mph. How fast are the cars and trucks around you going? From 75 mph to 90 mph. These people are wasting a lot of gas for the chance to get there a little earlier.
Cruise Control Using cruise control is a bit of gas-saving advice frequently on tips lists. We have always agreed with this tip in theory, but we hadn't expected such significant results. First, it smooths out the driver's accelerator input by preventing nervous surging. Second, it makes the driver take the long view of the road rather than reacting to every change in the traffic around them.
A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows Down This has to take you back to the days with the family on vacation. Dad says, "Turn the A/C off! It wastes gas!" And Mom says, "We can't roll the windows down or everyone on the highway will think we can't afford A/C." And you're in the back roasting, hoping someone will win the argument so you can cool off. Well, family psychology aside, if dads are still saying this, they aren't necessarily right. While the A/C compressor does pull power from the engine wasting some gas, the effect appears to be fairly minimal in modern cars. And putting the windows down tends to increase drag on most cars, canceling out any measurable gain from turning the A/C off. But, this one depends on the model you're driving. It's not worth the argument because you won't save a lot of gas either way. So, just do what's comfortable.