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Old 06-14-2014, 12:06 AM   #1
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Overnight Driving Advice

Next month we are going on our first long trip. We are traveling from Central FL to Waveland, MS. We are staying at Buccaneer State Park, which has a great water park and is directly on the gulf. I have family nearby and I would like them to see our latest addition to the family, our one year old. And, we will be traveling with my wife and my other son, whom is five. After much thought and consideration to their sleep schedules my wife and I decided that overnight driving was the best option. I am planning on leaving work early the day before our travels and going home to sleep. I would like to get a good 8 or 9 hours of sleep in and then get on the road around midnight. I am using the Trip Planner @ furkot.com which has been really great. It allowed me to enter waypoints like gas stations in incremental distances, of course I selected truck stops that were 24-hours. It also let me put my own speed limit and it let me put how long I plan on stopping at each stop... which gives me some real accuracy on arrival times - although overnight road construction is a concern. I am scheduled to stop every 2 to 3 hours. And, I know it going to sound crazy, but I also am having a Safe Driver System installed next week. This will sound an audible alert should I depart my lane without signaling, or if I am approaching an object/vehicle at an unsafe speed. Any advice for overnight driving? As a young man I drove late at night many 'o times, more than I can remember... literally. But, I haven't had the pleasure of doing it like this with the family. I'm generally a night owl... as I write this I'm surrounded by sleep, and have been for quite some time. I know I'm not alone in this group... so any feedback is appreciated.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:17 AM   #2
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The biggest thing is to be honest with yourself. If you feel tired, don't leg it out another 100 miles till the next scheduled stop. Get out, walk around, maybe an hour nap, then drive again. Even a 20 minute nap will be amazingly helpful and you will have a bed with you.

Some rally against OTC stimulants but I've got to admit 5Hour Energy has helped me more than once. But that's a know thyself kind of thing.

But yeah, biggest thing is being honest about getting tired.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:23 AM   #3
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When we did normal trips before full timing, we'd end up leaving at some crazy hour of the night most times if it was a long distance trip. Mainly, due to the anticipated excitement of the trip. Toss, turn, look at each other and say lets go. We'd always have everything hooked up ready to roll anyway the day before. Though we don't do it much now, I prefer the night driving. Way less traffic, more peaceful, cooler most of the time and so on.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SKnight View Post
The biggest thing is to be honest with yourself. If you feel tired, don't leg it out another 100 miles till the next scheduled stop. Get out, walk around, maybe an hour nap, then drive again. Even a 20 minute nap will be amazingly helpful and you will have a bed with you.

Some rally against OTC stimulants but I've got to admit 5Hour Energy has helped me more than once. But that's a know thyself kind of thing.

But yeah, biggest thing is being honest about getting tired.
X2 about being honest about getting tired.

The day after arriving at camp my dad fell at home and landed in the hospital. Little information was fore coming from family members so I left camp and arrive at the hospital just before midnight. I was wise enough to spend the night at home instead of driving back. The next day after visiting dad for most of the day with just a few hours sleep I pushed through the tiredness and traveled back to camp. At first I was fine but then the tiredness and lack of sleep started creeping in as I got closer to the campground. I should had taken a rest instead of driving the last 15 miles to camp. It was stupid to put safety at risk.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:50 AM   #5
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At first I was fine but then the tiredness and lack of sleep started creeping in as I got closer to the campground. I should had taken a rest instead of driving the last 15 miles to camp. It was stupid to put safety at risk.
Silly as it sounds if you're crashing but have just a little ways to go stop, walk around, do a few jumping jacks or run in place. That will ward it off for 20 minutes or so.

That five minutes in a parking lot looking foolish could save your life.
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Old 06-14-2014, 01:15 AM   #6
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Years ago when drag racing and it required driving home all night. I would have the normal thermos of coffee. I would still get tired and have to stop and take bathroom breaks or go to sleep for awhile.

Then at one race in Oregon a vendor stopped at our pit selling jerky and giving free samples. I tried a sample and was about to buy a small bag of their regular jerky. The vendor asked if we had a long drive home. I told him I was going to drive all night so my partner could be to work in the morning.

He suggested I buy a bag of his spicey hot jerky. He told me he would chew on some while driving late and it really helped to stay awake. I tried a sample and yep it was spicy and hot. I laughed and asked if he had anything hotter. He said yep my "nuclear" is very hot. I bought a bag.

I drove all night and at any point I felt tired I would chew a bit of that jerky. I never felt sleepy the whole trip. I may have have had a hard time seeing through the tears, but never sleepy.

I have used this method many times over the years and it works for me.
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Old 06-14-2014, 05:45 AM   #7
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I prefer to drive at night unless there is some beautiful scenery to be missed. There is nothing better than waking up at your destination.
Be careful!
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:09 AM   #8
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Another tricky part about night driving is the sudden, unexpected appearance of deer, moose or bears wandering across your section of road. You don't want to be colliding with anything like them. Be constantly scanning the verges for these critters.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:20 AM   #9
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I like to leave out early in the AM to miss the freeway NASCAR races.
I get up early 5 days a week to go to work so doing early on the weekends is easy.

You have posted what reads like a good plan to me so I say go for it.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VicD View Post
Next month we are going on our first long trip. We are traveling from Central FL to Waveland, MS. We are staying at Buccaneer State Park, which has a great water park and is directly on the gulf. I have family nearby and I would like them to see our latest addition to the family, our one year old. And, we will be traveling with my wife and my other son, whom is five. After much thought and consideration to their sleep schedules my wife and I decided that overnight driving was the best option. I am planning on leaving work early the day before our travels and going home to sleep. I would like to get a good 8 or 9 hours of sleep in and then get on the road around midnight. I am using the Trip Planner @ furkot.com which has been really great. It allowed me to enter waypoints like gas stations in incremental distances, of course I selected truck stops that were 24-hours. It also let me put my own speed limit and it let me put how long I plan on stopping at each stop... which gives me some real accuracy on arrival times - although overnight road construction is a concern. I am scheduled to stop every 2 to 3 hours. And, I know it going to sound crazy, but I also am having a Safe Driver System installed next week. This will sound an audible alert should I depart my lane without signaling, or if I am approaching an object/vehicle at an unsafe speed. Any advice for overnight driving? As a young man I drove late at night many 'o times, more than I can remember... literally. But, I haven't had the pleasure of doing it like this with the family. I'm generally a night owl... as I write this I'm surrounded by sleep, and have been for quite some time. I know I'm not alone in this group... so any feedback is appreciated.
You just described exactly what DH and I do for a long trip, pulling the 5er or not. We live in N.E. Louisiana but he is from Tampa Bay and still has family there so we often make that 13 hour run. Our target leave time is midnight, sometimes it may be 2 AM before we finally drag our butts out of the driveway. But, there's less traffic in the wee hours.

We pack everything the night before and if we're pulling the 5er she's hitched up and sitting in the driveway, and the truck is fueled up the evening before. Nothing to do but get up, shower and dress and hit the road.

I try to be his co-pilot, and since I'm a motor-mouth, I'm good at keeping conversation going to keep him alert. Grab a big cup of coffee somewhere just before you hit the interstate. Stop for more coffee and "pit stops" as necessary.

On our first long trip pulling the formerly owned V-Lite, we stop every hour to hour and a half (on the way to Pigeon Forge) and since it was a brand new TT, we checked torque on the wheels and hitch, checked tire pressures on the TV and the TT, and my job was to feel the wheel hubs for over heating at each stop. Before pulling back out we did a re-check of all the trailer lights, and did a total his/her walk-around visual, checking for anything out of order.
AND these stops that require attention to detail will keep you alert.

FTR everything in the above paragraph took place due to advice we got right here on this forum. This site ROCKS!
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