On Saturday, 27 September 2008 was my first time travelling outstation for work purpose. It was a day trip to Kuantan and I drove all the way to and fro. The distance from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan is 259 KM and driving at 100 kph, it takes around 3-3½ hours to reach.
Even though I hardly travel outstation, I would like to share something I learnt about this long outstation journey by car. Some lessons were taught by my father.
Few days before the travelling, it is good that you have some car check up. The reason is if your car got problem, the mechanic is hundreds of kilometers away. The other reason is driving a long journey is stressing your car. Imagine running at 100-110 kph for continous one hour. If your car got problems or breakdown often, it is better to not use that car for long journey outstation.
Make sure your car has enough petrol. The next petrol station is many kilometers away in the highway. Trust me. I face this problem when I drove back to Kuala Lumpur. That time, I still got one level of petrol. So, I thought, I think I can pump during the journey. And, that mistake nearly cost my a BIG one. As I keep driving, I couldn’t see any sign of the next petrol station and the level of petrol keep dropping. When the level drop to the most critical level, I started to get panic and get extremely nervous and it was a night journey, everywhere is pitch dark. The person sat next to me fell asleep. Things gets extreme when I began to see redlight. At the end, I surrender and prayed. After that, I saw the petrol sign, which is 1km away. I felt a bit relieved but still afraid, wonder if my car reach there. Thank God, I saw the petrol station at the end. From now, I will always remember this hard lesson. Now, I know the importance of having enough petrol during outstation travelling.
If can, find a good assistant driver. Good one means he can be your backup driver with valid license! And he will be your third eye in case your eyes get sleepy. There is no difference if you have someone sit next to you but do nothing to help and sleep all the way.
I think to be realistic, it is not easy to find a good assistant driver and we shouldn’t overly rely on assistant driver. What what to do? Here, I have some tips for you. These tips did work for me.
- Get a good cup of coffee right when you about to start it. Not too early because the caffein effect might be no more at that time. Yes, coffee is not most health drink but compare to safely here, it is worth it. Alternatively, if you can’t drink coffee for any reasons, you can use healthier drink like ginseng, tea or essence of chicken.
- Sweet. Even though, this might not work for some but the reason why it works is because sugar gives you calori, which is energy.
- Get some fast beat type of music. This is power of music. Some of my favorites are Moderm Talking, Dr Alban, Roxette and Beyond. WARNING, don’t bring those light and easy type, which will create the reverse effect!
- Bring extra money, to pump petrol. Sometimes petrol station won’t accept credit card.
- Make sure your handphone got extra credit and battery fully charged, so that you can make emergency call.
- Take more break. During break, you can get another cup of coffee or take a short 20 minutes nap if needed. Don’t let your pride stops or kill you.
Do you know what you can tell your car to prevent or allow outside air going inside your car? Usually those car who is at the city, will set it to not to allow outside air going inside the car. The reason is because those outside air is pretty polluted. But during outstation travelling, you should set it to allow outside air to go inside the car. Why? Because by doing so, you allow fresh air go inside the car which is good for you. One of the reason which make people more drowsy in the car is because there is no fresh air inside the car. This concept was taught by my father.
It is always the important to focus on safety especially at night or heavy rain and not to focus in reaching to the destination fast. Accident happens so easily on the highway and once there is an accident, it will be a BIG one because of the speed. The faster we driver, the BIGGER the impact. Remember life is more important than anything else here. So, last but not least, pray to God for safety.