How often do you take a break when on a long journey.

How often do you take a break when on a long journey.



Original Poster:

98 posts

90 months

Wednesday 11th November 2015
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I am a working drummer and am going on tour this Friday for 10 days. I am driving my drums and myself all around the uk. The longest journey I have is from Aberdeen to Southampton which is 9 hours of continuous driving. I passed my IAM test back in 2002 so am probably a little out of touch. However what's the longest you would drive without a break? I can do up 4 hours before I feel that I must stop for a rest.

Reg Local

2,643 posts

185 months

Wednesday 11th November 2015
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The traditional advice is stop at least every 2 hours, but everyone is different and every journey is different.

If I'm well rested and alert and travelling during the daytime I could easily do 4 or 5 hours between breaks.

If it's at night and I've had a long day I'd probably stop every 1 1/2 to 2 hours and maybe even have a kip if I'm tired.

Motorways are far more boring (and therefore tiring in my opinion) than other roads. Travelling alone can be more tiring than with a passenger and different vehicles can be more tiring (or cosseting) to drive.

Monitor how you're feeling, and at the first hint of drooping eyelids or a lack of concentration, pull over, get out for 10 minutes and clear your head. I worked unsocial shifts for nearly 20 years, and I've had my fair share of "nearly nodding off" moments - fatigue can creep up on you if you let it!


4,490 posts

184 months

Wednesday 11th November 2015
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I tend to stop quite often because I end up with back pain if I don't. But I seem to be driving Reading -> Newcastle a bit these days which can be a 5-7 hour journey and I usually stop twice, one of which will be for about a half hour, proper rest, wander out of the car, around the services etc.


29,008 posts

103 months

Wednesday 11th November 2015
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Depends entirely on how I feel, which depends on the car/traffic/weather.

Don't try and fit to any "rules" - just listen to your body and your mood and your energy levels.


8,608 posts

144 months

Wednesday 11th November 2015
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In my mx5 ive done 3hrs back from Donny race track back to south wales that was hard work wouldn't do it again. While towing my track car depends on length of journey anything under 2hrs or so I don't anything over will stop. Depends on how you feel/car/journey etc.


29,395 posts

176 months

Wednesday 11th November 2015
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When I was driving a band on tour round Europe, we stopped roughly once every two hours for a toilet break and leg stretch, and then every four hours we'd stop for a meal. A van full of people meant that I was kept awake though.

The real killer is the drive after the gig when you're tired.

MC Bodge

18,564 posts

152 months

Friday 13th November 2015
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"I gotta be in Frisco 3 o'clock tomorrow afternoon"


1,814 posts

91 months

Friday 13th November 2015
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Due to a crazy situation with the Fog and cancelled flights.. I did Heathrow to Munich and back last week..

Set the trip meter to zero and focussed on 100 mile increments... Stopping for coffee, leg stretch every 100 miles...
Kept off any carbs or sugar.

worked really well...

kwaka jack

270 posts

149 months

Friday 13th November 2015
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I've done 6 hours straight before which once settled into it was actually alright to be honest. Nowadays the other halfs bladder dictates when we have a stop laugh

Edited by kwaka jack on Friday 13th November 22:30


4,775 posts

250 months

Friday 13th November 2015
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Edited by castex on Saturday 14th November 09:30


1,584 posts

97 months

Friday 13th November 2015
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I find that my foot starts to hurt after a little bit, when you've got a heavy clutch and accelerator, it can be a bit painful after a few hours.


2,843 posts

168 months

Saturday 14th November 2015
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On long journeys I take breaks when I feel I need one; that need varies.

For example, on a regular route over the last 10yrs I have on a couple of occasions driven Fort William - Bath in one hit before but most recently (Sept this year) I recall stopping four times for a break/leg stretch - even included a 2hr zizz near Lancaster. That's what was required for comfort, concentration, contentment behind wheel. So it goes. Funnily enough it comes out the same either way, around the 11-12hr mark overall (on this example)

I generally estimate really long roadtrips on [distance/prevailing principle route speed limit] time estimate, +25% min. for breaks, and don't care if it takes longer.

Certainly there's nothing to prove by pressing-on when tired, and everything to lose.

Edited by Huff on Saturday 14th November 23:19

Len Woodman

159 posts

90 months

Tuesday 17th November 2015
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Didn't think you could drive very long in the UK without falling into the sea. Now here in Australia...............


1,041 posts

106 months

Thursday 19th November 2015
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depends on the roads.....

breaks every 2...2 1/2 hours are best

or when you are feeling tired....."comfort break" etc...

When a Marine I once tried to drive back home for the weekend for some serious shagging......and started to doze swapped seats with a mate who said he was ok ( not shagging him....for clarification)(we had been on a 5 day exercise and had about 5 hours sleep in those 5 days) anyway I woke up hearing and feeling a thumping noise and looked mate was asleep doing about 50 mph....hitting cones. I screamed at him grabbing the wheel, where we managed to get the car under control....the next lay by we pulled over swore a bit, and got our heads down for about 2 hours....that was not the intention....but it kept us alive, luckily car only had small dents in bumper. After that i never took chances again

I have often driven non stop from Southampton to Sheffield/Leeds, and been ok, Several times non stop to and from Stuttgart some 700 miles in about 12 hours including tunnel/ferry and been fine, but it also depends on the comfort of the car, type of roads etc... When teaching learners or doing "Fleet" work i can be in the car for some 8-11 hours a day, but you get used to it.

Many get it wrong....and die as a result. Once you feel you are starting to nod off You are already at very high risk, opening the window, loud music, drink etc.... is only a short delay, you can't beat a good 10-20 mins shut eye somewhere safe to refresh yourself


2,843 posts

168 months

Thursday 19th November 2015
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Oh that's a great point and one of my pet peeves: the idea of 'grab a coffee to wake me up ' - no thanks, not when driving: the candle has obviously already guttered, fleeting stimulant won't fix it. Take the break & get some proper rest instead.


1,520 posts

132 months

Thursday 19th November 2015
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Interesting thread ......
When I was (a lot) younger and fresh after a full nights sleep I did a full 5 hours - but I couldn't do that now.
I also think a lot depends on 'the journey'. A long but busy motorway trip during daylight hours is going to hold your attention a lot more than the same distance on a quieter night time journey.

Any long trips I now do are in my camper - a bit larger than a car but just as easy to drive. If I travel through France the toll roads are so empty everything gets so boring and tiredness can soon set in, so I pull over every 2 - 2.5 hours.

What gets me is the LGV drivers .... professional drivers - rolling along at any time day or night, for what can be stint of 4.5 hours at the wheel eek


1,430 posts

199 months

Friday 20th November 2015
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Len Woodman said:
Didn't think you could drive very long in the UK without falling into the sea. Now here in Australia...............
In the UK, even a short trip is a long drive frown


127 posts

86 months

Monday 23rd November 2015
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I take breaks based on Motorway services smile if there's a Starbucks, I stop. if there isn't, I don't.


237 posts

117 months

Tuesday 24th November 2015
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I've never found long journeys to be an issue for tiredness^, the only times I've felt any risk of falling asleep at the wheel as been in the morning after a crap nights sleep, but in those situations I've always found as the journey goes on I become more awake, not less awake.

On long journey I usually find the bladder to be the controlling part - 1.5-2.5 hours of driving is usually my comfortable piss range. I regularly do four hour trips (often after a full days work, into the wee hours) with nothing more than a pee stop and never find tiredness or fatigue is an issue, sometimes into the 6+ hour range I tend to be a bit mentally fatigued, but wired not tired - I couldn't sleep if I tried, and once I get out the car I'm like a kid whose eaten too many smarties. When I was drivng I was really looking forward to getting to my destination, but now I'm there any my brain can't go back to normal mode and wants to keep driving - after driving around an unfamiliar place while trying to follow the satnav my brain is too used to doing multiple things at the same time and can't come back down. I do have ADHD though so that probably figures into it.

I think I take more stops than most people, but I tend not to take long stops - enough time to buy coffee and snacks, pee and maybe fuel up. I find sitting down to eat or relax makes it harder to get going again and saps my energy, a bit like a long walk - If you stop and grab a quick bite and get going again you'll be raring to go. Stop and take off your rucksack, put on some warm clothes and eat all your sarnies and you'll be dying when you try to start going again.

I find short stops are best for clearing mental fatigue, it's enough time for your mind to decompress a little bit, but not enough time for your brain to drop out of driving mode.

^I can think of two or three times when I've felt the need for a proper break, once, when I was sleep deprived, hung over and full of food, and I needed a nap, and another driving a death trap ebay purchase home, when I stopped every hour to de-stress. But both times, I probably shouldn't have been driving in the first place.

Edited by clunkbox on Tuesday 24th November 11:30


1,265 posts

96 months

Wednesday 25th November 2015
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I don't take breaks because I am a driving god.