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Published On: Wed, Feb 11th, 2015

Long Distance Drivers: Tips for Reducing Your Road Trip Risks

The human body wasn’t designed for long trips. Being cooped up on a plane or in a car for hours on end can be tortuous for those with low back problems, Deep Vein Thrombosis, or sciatica. Even trigger points and other muscular problems make sitting for long periods of time painful.

Here’s how to reduce your road trip risks.

Take Frequent Breaks, If Possible

Pull over to the side of the road if you’ve been driving for more than two hours. It’s not very healthy to continuously drive through aching muscles and joints. Even if you’re not in pain, you can trigger some serious health conditions if you frequently go on long distances without breaks. What kind of conditions?

Rough Road Sign public domain

Rough Road Sign public domain

Try DVT (deep vein thrombosis), pulmonary embolism, and sciatica. Of these, sciatica is the most common. It’s a condition caused by intervertebral discs hitting or irritating a nerve that runs through your legs.

Muscle knots and trigger points can also mimic sciatica, providing the same or similar kind of pain and making it difficult to know what you’re suffering from. But, you don’t need a diagnosis to take rest breaks from driving.

If you experience swelling of your leg or arm, pain or tenderness that you can’t explain, skin that’s unusually warm to the touch, and redness of your skin, those are symptoms that need to be checked out right away – they’re signs of DVT.

If you start having difficultly breathing, you have faster than normal or irregular heartbeat, you’re experiencing chest pain or discomfort, or you get a sudden panic attack for not apparent reason, you’re coughing up blood, or you feel light-headed, you may be having a pulmonary embolism. Pull off to the side of the road immediately and call 911.

Take A Nap When Traveling Between Dusk and Dawn

There’s no shame in taking a nap during a long trip. Just don’t do it while you’re driving. This

Dallas car accident lawyer has seen it all, and insurance companies already have a strategy to keep you from getting money that you may be entitled to. So, your best bet is to stay accident-free so you don’t need to rely on someone else paying for medical bills if you do get into an accident.

A 15 minute nap is usually all it takes for you to fee refreshed, especially if you’re traveling between dusk and dawn.

Stretch While Driving

Mobility expert Kelly Starrett has some awesome ideas for stretching while driving. According to Starrett, one of worst things for your body is to sit in a vehicle for hours on end without movement.

Fortunately, there are an almost endless number of ways and opportunities to stretch your muscles and joints using nothing more than the steering wheel (yes, it’s completely safe while driving, and will actually loosen your shoulders), the door, the passenger seat, or your abs. Check it out.

Drink Water

Drinking water is a sort of self-regulating way to stay mobile during long trips. Suck it up and drink 12 to 14 ounces of water every hour. You’ll eventually have to stop to use the bathroom, and this will be the perfect time to get out and move around a bit.

Drinking consistently throughout your trip may mean a few more bathroom breaks, but your body will perfectly time your sitting and moving intervals so you don’t have to think about it.

Bugs Bunny explosion photoPlay Games

Sometimes, going down a long stretch of road can seem pretty tedious. The lines on the road start to meld together into a super-line, you get “tunnel vision,” and it becomes difficult to concentrate. This is because you’re not providing your brain with any real stimulation.

You’re moving down the road at a constant speed, and your brain is effectively shutting off because it gets somewhat confused by the perception of movement without you actually moving.

To keep your brain engaged, you need to occupy it with something, like games. Car games can be anything from license plate spotting to the alphabet game to memory test.

You can also listen to music, lectures, or books on tape. Lectures and books on tape may be especially good, since it allows you to learn something or stay entertained while you drive. If you’re on the road a lot, you can catch up on your fiction “reading” using something like Audible.

Any one of these strategies will help you stay focused on something. Just don’t get too distracted. You do have to pay attention to the road in front of you.

Guest Author :

Regis and Shane Mullen are a father and son legal team and are the principals of the Mullen & Mullen law firm. Mullen & Mullen have been serving Dallas with top rate legal advice and representation for over 20 years. Regis Mullen has a unique perspective on cases having worked on both sides of personal injury claims. Prior to practicing law, Regis worked as a claims adjuster and litigation supervisor for major insurance companies.

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  1. Shahriar says:

    Traveling is my hobby….Thanks for your tips.It realy helps me to reduce the risk…

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