Car AdviceTop 5

Friday Five – Long-Distance Driving Tips for Solo Drivers

Australia is a big country and there can often be incredibly long distances between towns, here’s how to stave off boredom if you’re driving alone.

HERE’S FIVE IDEAS to help while away the time on your next long-distance, solo driving mission:

  1. Phone a friend – remember phone calls? They’re what we used to do before instant messaging. A good chat can make hours seem like minutes, and if it’s not working out you can always make out that you’re driving into a mobile phone blackspot;
  2. Listen to an audiobook – a good story is a good story, regardless of whether it’s on the printed page, made into a movie or something you listen to. Give them a try. There’s many specialist audiobook apps too.  You can also listen to a podcast – so many to choose from! Your favourite news site probably has a few, and there’s always the ABC;
  3. Use a UHF radio to talk to other road users – truckies, caravaners, 4WDers… even if you don’t say anything you can learn a lot (and be amused) by listening in on the free-for-all CB channels;
  4. Take the back-roads route – if you’re not pressed for time cut across country through small towns, dirt roads and the like. Far more interesting than the monotony of the freeway;
  5. Explore your car – measure the fuel consumption at slightly different speeds. You’ll find it quite different at 100 vs 110km/h for example. Or try using that adaptive cruise control for the first time. Don’t ever put safety at risk, but there may be time to check out features you’ve never tried before.

Like the main image? Read our Audi SQ7 review.

The golden rule when driving long distances, is to make sure you take regular breaks, and it’s doubly important to do so when travelling solo. Don’t do what one person we know did, and simply load up on cans of energy drink and keep on driving… he ended up falling asleep at the wheel. True story.

Comprehensive Car Insurance

Question: What’s your favourite anti-boredom tip for a long drive?


8 Comments

  1. Andrew Riles
    December 16, 2016 at 7:56 am — Reply

    I find disabling the cruise control a good tip as it makes the drive more involving…..though it must be said I’m well used to driving without it, so have learnt to keep a close eye on my speed….

    • J
      December 16, 2016 at 8:35 am — Reply

      I find trying to beat my best fuel consumption, while still maintaining the speed limit, gives me something to think about. Podcasts and audio books are also great. Sometimes I try finding unusual radio stations, too. Main thing, is to be aware of your surroundings, be sensible with time/distance expectations and be courteous to others on the road.

      • Andrew Riles
        December 16, 2016 at 9:57 am — Reply

        I’ve tried similar tricks with the fuel consumption, and also tried to get the highest possible number on the distance to empty readout when i fill up…..

  2. JohnGC
    December 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm — Reply

    Turn the phone off and just enjoy some solitude, it doesn’t come around that often.

  3. John Kopcheff
    January 2, 2017 at 2:19 am — Reply

    another good tip is to use bose noise cancelling headphones with audio jacks so you can listen to the audio books.
    The tire noise and also engine noise if there is any also makes you tired.
    Also , if you find the drivers seat starts to hurt your back or back of your thighs after a couple of hours, then do as I do- use a lumbar support cushion!
    I have used the noise cancelling headphones, lumbar support cushion and audio books in my three trips across Australia and one across the USA to drive route 66!
    I drive four hours at a time as that is when i need to refuel

    • January 3, 2017 at 8:05 am — Reply

      Why use headphone when you have Bluetooth? It’s also not good to block out other sounds eg odd noises for the engine, horns and the like.

      • John Kopcheff
        January 4, 2017 at 6:41 am — Reply

        Hi Robert,
        Thank you for your comment.
        you can still hear horns and the like. The bose just cut down the constant background noise from the tyres and engine.
        I certainly could hear any changes in engine note.
        cheers,
        john

        • January 4, 2017 at 7:06 am — Reply

          Thanks John, good to know. I guess the Boses are quality units then and you don’t need to turn the volume up a long way.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/ or buy his new ebook!