Wondering how to spend a long break from driving productively? Want to relax, but not sure how to plan your stops? We can help!
Are long breaks on the road necessary?
While we must take a break from driving according to the tachograph when driving a car with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tons, there is no legal limit on hours or kilometers driven for cars and vans. For this reason, many drivers may think that they can drive forever. This is a problem for people who work in the transport industry, as well as tourists who want to travel by car to places that are several days away. However, driving for long hours puts a lot of strain on the body – we need to be constantly focused on the road
To prevent fatigue and loss of concentration while driving, and thus reduce the risk of accidents, it is necessary to plan stops wisely. “Longer break” may mean something different for every driver, but it’s always a good idea to find time for a stop of 40-50 minutes. It’s best to try to get a longer rest, even two hours.
Best ideas for a long break on the road
There are several reliable methods to spend a productive break on the road. If you have limited time, you are unlikely to have the opportunity to stop at a tourist attraction. Such situations occur quite often, especially considering the fact that for longer distances most drivers strongly prefer highways. In this case, the so-called MOPs have been prepared, i.e. places of traveller service, which are to provide all the necessary facilities for drivers. We can also slightly change the planned route and stop in a quieter place.
It is not only worth refuelling during the stop, but also to take care of your own relaxation. We’ve put together our top four suggestions for making the most of a long break on the road
First of all, eat something warm
A full meal is a much better idea than a quick snack. However, be careful with local specialties. Being abroad, we may have to deal with food that will not go well with the bacterial flora of our digestive system. If you have doubts about your body’s reaction to the food served, it will be better to give it up. It’s a good idea to have a meal from a well-known chain store instead of a local pub – these establishments have almost the same offer in every country.
Movement is healthy!
A run, even around a gas station, perfectly stimulates circulation and has a great impact on our further performance while driving. But that’s not the only workout you can do. It is also worth choosing stretching – it is an invaluable support during long hours in the seat. The positive effects of a short training will allow us to quickly forget about the hardships of the route
Focus on the psyche, not just the body
An extremely beneficial idea for relaxation can be to find a scenic spot along the route where you can stop and focus fully on yourself. Meditation, mindfulness techniques, and other relaxation methods work great for long road trips, especially when professional stress is involved. They also have the advantage of being simple – everyone can do them on their own. As a result, you can expect safer driving and a solution to your problems with focusing on the road.
Prepare for the road ahead
If you have a guilty conscience and a feeling of wasting time because you still have a long way to go, it’s a good idea to combine business with pleasure. Just connect to your local Wi-Fi network and check if there are any traffic jams or other unexpected changes on your route. We can also verify if there is no alternative, faster way. It is worth to be up-to-date and adapt to the conditions while driving – access to the Internet and calm analysis of information during a break makes it significantly easier. You can optimize the next stages of your route and get to your destination faster despite a long break
What to do when the break is even longer?
If we have a break that lasts several hours, we gain the chance to do many beneficial or relaxing activities. During this time we can have a very good meal at a local restaurant, visit attractions along the route, or just go for a long walk.
Being a professional driver and spending the mandatory pause in the parking lot, it is advisable to spend time on entertainment that will make us mentally relax after the hard driving. You can take your favorite book with you, listen to music in solitude, or watch a movie or series. If you have access to the Internet, it is worth using the offers of streaming services, which will allow you to familiarize yourself with the latest superproductions. Many professional drivers also choose to take a small camping satellite dish with them. Combined with a TV tuner, a set-top box from one of the digital networks and a laptop, a satellite dish can give us a glimpse of our country even in faraway Spain or Russia.
When we have a few hours of break, it is also worth to do some shopping – especially when we are in a foreign country and we expect to cross the Polish border soon. Then we can purchase items that are not available with us, but we have to remember not to let them spoil in a short time. In the case of countries such as Hungary or Croatia, it is worth paying attention to local wines, while visiting the Czech Republic, we should in turn focus on beer. In Austria there is a mass of different sweets available. German delicacies are a bit more familiar to us, but you will definitely find something unique. It’s worth being open to new flavors! Sometimes going to a popular chain store, which we know from Poland, we will find completely different products. We can also count on lower prices than in our country – especially when we are behind the eastern border.