Tips for driving straight thru?

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by jenbren, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. jenbren

    jenbren Wild about Disney

    Feb 4, 2001
    We are driving to WDW Dec 18th (6 weeks from tomorrow:banana:) and for the first time ever we are going to drive straight thru from Michigan (about 22 hours I think). The rest of the extended family are flying but with 4 of us and the price of plane tickets now we decided to drive (plus somebody has to bring the stuff no one can fit on the plane! lol!!) To those all-night drivers out there what are your tips or suggestions to make it as pleasant as possible? We have 3 drivers - me, hubby and DD 17. Other DD is 13 and been told she will have to pull a stint helping keep a driver awake! We have a big conversion van so room to stretch out and get some sleep for the non-driver should be ok.

    Any ideas? What have you done to make it work?

  2. DisneyDebbie

    DisneyDebbie DIS Veteran

    Jul 1, 2007
    I used to drive from Buffalo to Fort Myers every year straight through w/ my boyfriend (about 24 hours). We did 6-7 hour shifts in daylight and 4 hour shifts overnight. Honestly, I was always so excited it was never a problem- coffee, radio, window open for fresh air. Now the drive back home was horrible had to stop for rest many more times.

    Having 3 drivers will be really helpful! Have fun!
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  4. NotUrsula

    NotUrsula DIS Veteran

    Apr 19, 2002
    To address safety: be sure to clean your headlamps often, and make sure that the bulbs are fully illuminated before you leave. I'm guessing that with kids those ages you are likely over 40, and over-40 eyes have reduced reaction time in adjusting from light to darkness. (As in, when you momentarily pass a bright light.)

    If you wear contacts be sure to carry some rewetting drops, and be willing to pull over to use them -- focusing too tightly for too long dries the eyes, and that will also make it harder for you to see clearly at night.

    The teen will have the best night vision, but I wouldn't let her drive in the wee hours with no adult awake. She'll be able to see just fine, but she doesn't have enough experience to reliably see trouble coming or react on autopilot in a tight spot.
  5. hearts8701

    hearts8701 Castle

    Jan 30, 2000
    we drive from chicago several times a year we love the ride we also drive straight thru about 18 hours be careful in the mountains especailly if ice is on the pavement once we hit a ice storm in Tn in dec traffic was shut down for 18 hours and i mean shut down no one moved try to drive thru the mountains in daylight for your first time we have only one driver my dh he is 66 years young and drives well we have teenagers in our family that have drove with us and they tend to sleep most of the way make the vacation part of the ride be safe & have a great ride:drive:
  6. GranddadTom

    GranddadTom Mouseketeer

    Nov 16, 2006
    We’ve driven through the night many times but our trip is quite a bit shorter than yours (880 miles and 13 hours). I used to be concerned about being able to get gas in the wee hours of the morning but that has proven to be no problem. The gas stations in the south (at least those along Rt. 95 – I assume Rt. 75 would be the same) stay open all night for credit card purchases even though there is nobody working at the station. The problem is finding a restroom. We also make sure that we stop at the welcome center as you enter each state. They are always open. The hardest part of the trip for me from 4:00 am to sunrise. One of the things that I’ve found helps (even though you’d think that eating would make you sleepy) is to have a small meal at midnight and again at 4:00 am. My routine for doing one of these drives is to go home around noon, sleep until around 7:00 pm and leave between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm (to let the Washington, DC rush hour traffic die down). Then I get in the car and tell myself that it’s just a long day’s work. Also I don’t plan on doing much on arrival day as the drive pretty much wipes me out. I find driving through the night rather peaceful and don’t miss the trucks at all. As a previous poster mentioned, the weather for the northern part of the drive is always a concern but I don’t think that I need to remind you of that. Just remember it’s colder at night than in the day. Have fun, enjoy time with the girls.
  7. jenbren

    jenbren Wild about Disney

    Feb 4, 2001
    Thank you everyone for the ideas and encouragement!

    NotUrsala - Wetting drops are a great idea - I wouldn't have thought of that as I don't wear contacts but my eyes do get really dried out when I'm tired so that is a great suggestion.

    Hee hee - over 40 - I'll never admit it! I just have had a lot of anniversaries of my 29th birthday lol!:rotfl:
  8. ohlas

    ohlas Mouseketeer

    Oct 28, 2009
    I drove from Cleveland, ohio to tampa 2 years ago it took me from 1pm till 10 or 11am the next morning,,, i had to stop at jacksonville for a little nap couldnt keep my eyes open.....

    coffee, eye drops, gum, some kinda candy to suck on and gps and oh the love of satlite radio worth every penny.... we do one tank of gas shifts unless one of us really wants to keep driving i normally do the days my husband does most of the nights, im not good after 3 am to ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

    We always stop and make everyone out of car durning feed the car time aka getting gas for the grown ups we alway stop hour for dinner or at the half way point to eat at a sit down dinner it takes the stress out of stick in the car,forever feeling....
  9. wildlandmedic

    wildlandmedic Earning My Ears

    Aug 9, 2009
    I have been a paramedic for several years. This sometimes involves long distance transfers in the middle of the night with absolutely no sleep. Here are a few suggestions.

    Beware of high caffeine drinks, especially if you are not used to them. When you crash from the caffeine wearing off you can nod of quickly. I like 5 hr energy shots. They have minimal caffeine and don't make me crash like the others.

    Carrots are great for snacking. they are crunchy and have more sugar than most vegetables.

    If you do get tired, switch or get out and walk. 5 mins of delay is better than 5 hours in an emergency reoom.
  10. NJFireman22

    NJFireman22 Mouseketeer

    Nov 2, 2005
    A trick my DW and I have is to drive in 4 to 5 hours shifts, we have been driving right thru for about 10 years now. Light snacking along the way too,
    ( no heavy meals). A quick brisk walk at rest stops get the blood moving, which helps us a lot too.
    If your get tired STOP its not worth trying to "push thru it".
  11. DisneyWalker44

    DisneyWalker44 DIS Veteran

    Nov 29, 2008
    Have a backup plan. While you should be fine, if you discover during the trip that nobody is capable of driving safely, stop in a motel and get a few hours nap. The cost in money and time will be well worth it. Figure out ahead of time where you expect to be at various hour of the night and research where you'd want to stay if that becomes necessary.

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