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So I Heard You’re Driving Home for Spring Break…

If you do not have the luxury of living close to campus then you know the worst part of going home to see your family and loved ones is the long journey you have ahead. Here are my tried and true ways to stay awake while driving for 6+ hours straight.

Get Comfortable

Dress comfy so once you get home you can just instantly crawl into bed and go to sleep. The best tip I could give is to wear either leggings or sweatpants for the drive. Not only will you be more comfortable and happy that you aren't wearing jeans and a nice blouse, but once you finally reach your destination you can instantly lay down and catch some Zzzs.

Don't Forget Gas

Make sure to fill up on gas before you are on your way. If your trip is far and requires more than one tank of gas, do your absolute best to stop while it is still light out! You never know where you will have to stop to get gas. It could very easily be in an area that is typically avoided by most at night. Be on the safer side and stop for gas when you can easily see all of the people around you. 

Safety is Key

Share your location with your family. It will allow them to see where you are in a way that does not involve constantly calling you to make sure you are safe. I have learned that if I have Find my Friends turned on and shared with my close friends and parents, they will not constantly text me to make sure I'm okay. This was a great way to keep me off of my phone while driving but still let everyone I cared about know that I was still traveling on my way.

Charge, Charge, Charge

Keep a phone charger in your car! I cannot stress this enough. There have been too many times that my phone has almost died from using Google Maps. You do not want to be that person who ends up spending $20 on a cheap phone charger that will break in a few weeks. It is not worth the stress or the money! Just remember, grab your phone charger as you leave your bedroom.

Have a Plan

Every driver on the road should have AAA , or some variation, on speed dial because you never know what could happen. As a driver, you need to always be prepared in case you get into a car accident, you get a flat tire, or your car over heats. When driving long distances, you can get stuck in an area that is 3 hours away from anyone you know so being able to call for help from a tow-truck company is life saving.

Put the Playlist on Replay

The best part about driving alone is that you can replay the same song 26 times and no one can complain. Use this to your advantage and learn the lyrics to a song. It allows for your brain to get a little exercise and it keeps you awake. You also never know when the song you picked will play at a party and you can impress a future significant other with your skills.

Look for Repetition

Count how many songs say the word love in them and then lose count because it is way more than you would think. If you listen to the Today's Hits on the radio, nearly all of them say 'love' at one point or another. Basically, you will be so focused on listening for the word that time will fly! Just remember, also stay focused on the road.

Make it Chilly

Keep the air on and windows down if you feel like you are starting to get sleepy. The safest thing to do would be to pull over and give yourself a little break. A good tip to know is that your body has a much more difficult time falling asleep when you are cold; therefore, if the windows are down and the A/C is blasting, you will be taking preemptive measures to avoid falling asleep. This ensures not only your  safety, but the other drivers that are out as well.

Become a Band Member

Turn your steering wheel into a drum set, safely. I highly recommend Thunder by Imagine Dragons. The beats in this song specifically are the best ones to jam out to. You are practically a one-man-band and the audience is all of the strangers stuck next to you in traffic. Yes, those strangers will stare. 

Call Someone

If you are the type to instantly miss your friends once you leave school, see if they are free enough to call you and catch you up on what has happened in the past 30 minutes that you have already been gone. You will be surprised because there is always some topic of conversation that you and your best friend need to discuss urgently. Just remember that if you are going to talk on your phone you need to be doing it hands-free.

Keep Track

Get excited for every hour that passes. I always get excited once I’m less than 100 miles away from home. It is times like these that you must be your own cheerleader. You can do it! Just do your best to keep track of your milestones along the way. Doing so allows for you to constantly have a finish line to look forward to. The final finish line of course is your bed.

Think Ahead

Make sure you go at times most convenient for you to be awake. If you always go to bed after 2 am, then make sure you will get to your destination before 2 am. With that in mind, if you take a nap everyday at 4 pm, make sure you are not planning to drive during that time because you will get tired. 

Driving for an extended period of time is difficult and is only to be done when you are able to allow all of your focus on the road. It is easy to get bored so sometimes you need to be creative and have a drum solo with your steering wheel. Driving for anywhere over 2 hours is a difficult task but many college students do this to go visit family for breaks throughout the semester. Be safe this Spring Break and enjoy the drive as safely as possible!

Francheska Cal

Cal Lutheran '20

Francheska is a Senior at California Lutheran University and is President of Her Campus at Cal Lutheran. She is majoring in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies with a minor in Psychology. Francheska imagines herself as a second grade teacher in an elementary school within the next 5 years in the Los Angeles area.
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