Ultimate Checklist for Road Trips in the UAE
‘Pamper the driver’ is, in a nutshell, the best advice for long road trips. The fun of road trips in Dubai starts at home with the preparation. Are you driving solo? Or with children? Are you prepared?
1. Before You Go:
Get Enough Sleep:
The best time to think about sleeping is before the road trip, not when you are on the road, struggling to keep your eyes open.
Update Your Maps:
Make friends with guidebooks. Download the latest updated maps before for your GPS unit before you set off. An amusing exercise is to read about local hotspots before you go. For instance, the GPS may take you to Khorfakkan by the best possible route in the shortest possible time, but unless you’ve read our hidden beaches guide, you are not likely to know of the Heart Beach, behind a petrol station after the north end of Khorfakkan. A physical map may be handy if you lose your signal.
Are you Kitted Up?
Do you have a first aid kit for your car and for your passengers? All Carlease rental cars are fitted with an emergency toolkit. For long trips, you should carry a first aid kit with, at minimum, your preferred painkiller, bandages, lots of gauze, medical tape, an anti-septic ointment, an ointment for burns, a heatpack, an ice-pack, gloves, and any other medicine that you think is suitable for you and your passengers.
You should check that you have all the necessary first aid equipment for your car as well. Before you leave, make sure you identify where in your car the spare wheel, fire extinguisher, front and rear tow hitches/hooks, jack, wheel-changing tools and emergency triangle are located (these are included in all Carlease cars by default). For the spare tire, make sure you press down on it and inspect the seams to ensure that the tire is in good condition. Wiggle it a little as well to ensure that it isn’t lodged in the spare tire well. If you car’s spare tire is mounted in the underbody, make sure you figure out how to get at it before you get on the road (Check your car’s manual.
There is usually a lug-nut that needs to be unscrewed around where the tire is fitted). Finally, ensure that you have a set of jumper cables and a tow rope with you. Here’s a printable sheet on how to jump your car. Print it and keep it with the rest of your first aid equipment.
Kit up on some snacks too, particularly water. Keep some blankets folded in the back, in case you need them.
Are you Insured?
It’s great to have insurance that you can call in case of emergency. Be sure to check your insurance to guarantee that there are no limitations to your coverage while you are on the road (for example, some insurances dictate how far from the main road you can go). The insurance should cover roadside assistance.
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When driving a Carlease car, you know that we are only a phone call away at 055 472 2531 for emergencies, day and night. If you plan on going to Oman, please be sure to contact your primary salesperson in advance so that we can arrange the relevant documentation.
Is your Vehicle Ready?
Ours are. Carlease vehicles are tuned and maintained so the leaser does not have to worry about a thing. In general, your tune-up should cover air-conditioning, spare tire, steering and suspension, oil and transmission. Air in the tires, belts and hoses, fluid levels, lights, and wiper blades need a check too.
Don’t eat heavy, lethargy-inducing meals. Eat well to stay energized and snack on noisy, crunchy stuff – carrot sticks anyone? Drink enough water – being dehydrated is very draining. Plus, making stops at restrooms provides breaks in the journey, which helps you stay awake.
Do a Weather Check:
Are you expecting rain and thunder, or is a sandstorm on the way? Is fierce sunlight going to be an issue or are you likely to be experiencing short daylight hours? Have any of the roads you plan on traversing been flooded recently? Each of these requires a different set of preparation activity. Tune in to the weather report.
2. On the Road
Is your seat aligned for maximum comfort and alertness? Don’t let your muscles lock into an uncomfortable position. Mentally scan your body for discomfort and adjust your posture accordingly. Here’s a checklist with advice on how to keep your seat adjusted perfectly.
Research from sleep scientists shows that most accidents caused by drowsy driving occur between midnight and 8.00 am, or from 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm. If you’re driving at these times, make sure you’ve had enough sleep for a couple of nights before and make an extra effort to stay awake.
Stop for Rest:
Plan your rest stops so you have an opportunity to stretch your legs and take a break from concentrating on the road. Those used to taking long drives recommend taking frequent breaks away from the car to avoid fatigue.
On long road trips, ensure that the person in your passenger seat is suitably awake. Maybe they can help keep an eye on the speed limits, or help you navigate. A sleepy navigator is likely to pass on their drowsiness to the driver.
Enjoy the drive, not the rush. Share the road; be mindful of other, particularly larger vehicles. Drive around big vehicles. They are trained to keep distance between vehicles because they take longer to brake. Don’t drive too close to any vehicle.
3. Keep in mind:
Music yes, but even audio books are great company, or perhaps those super annoying chatty radio hosts who will leave you too irritated to feel sleepy. Or be prepared with a playlist of audio books, jokes, and music. Karaoke is actually a useful tool.
Here are some helpful links:
What is your Limit?
How long can you drive with your mental and physical faculties intact? Some people like it so much that they can drive up to 12 hours in a day, others say that five hours in quite enough. If you’re driving in the dark on a long boring road, read it as: how long can you drive without getting so bored that you nod off.
Keep it Fun:
Unless you have a train to catch – metaphorically speaking – don’t push yourself. Sure, you can do two more hours each day, particularly on a long stretch if you are covering many spots, but, beyond a point, it’ll be an exercise in discipline rather than fun. You may get there early but you will too tired to enjoy the destination. Similarly, try to keep driving hours pleasant – no driving with the noon sun blazing on your head or driving in the afternoon with the glare hitting you despite the sunshield.
If you’re on a solo long drive, there are extra steps for preparation. It’s a freeing experience and can even be somewhat meditative to drive alone – plus, no one argues about which music to play, or where to stop for food. Nevertheless, long drives can be physically taxing. Keep your phone charged and your car tank full. Make sure that someone knows you’re on the road and is waiting for you to check in.
Traveling with Children:
Check car seats or booster seats, installation and size requirements before you go. Pack food and entertainment for them and make sure you have a ready list of child-friendly stops.
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