/How to Plan a Road Trip

How to Plan a Road Trip

Road Trip 1 at How to Plan a Road Trip
Planning a journey is important in enabling you to concentrate on the job of driving instead of worrying about where you are going. On a short trip in an area you are familiar with, this may mean nothing more than working out the best order to make your calls. On a long journey you can plan a route itinerary so you know where you are going, in which towns you make major turns and where you are going to stay if you must make a stopover.

Beware of the over-familiar route. The risk is that you get so used to driving it that you go into autopilot mode, letting your mind wander or failing to recognize that conditions, or even road layouts, have changed. Try taking an alternative r; route occasionally, but if you can’t, be aware that your concentration may lapse.

This is particularly dangerous on long but familiar routes when fatigue may add risk to autopilot mode. Your familiarity can make the distances seem shorter so where, in unfamiliar territory, you might take a break with 30 miles to go, on familiar ground you may decide to carry on because ‘it’s not far’. If you find you get to a point on the journey with no recollection of the last few miles, you must take a break because that is a sure sign of fatigue and familiarity taking over.

Direction signs

The UK’s direction signing is better than most countries’ in its comprehensive nature but the way it is arranged is fairly typical of the systems used around the world.

Road Trip at How to Plan a Road Trip
Its basis is that there are certain major towns whose names are used to navigate major routes and as long as you know the next major town on your route you should be able to follow the signs from one major town to the next. In theory, where a sign lists more than one town, the next town should be first on the list, though the capital is often the exception to the rule (probably because the people who plan all this are mostly based there and so presume that everyone else wants to go there as well).

This can also fall down in the few areas, like central Sussex, where there is a large patch with many modest sized towns but none the planners and mappers thought big enough to label as a major town. So you arrive at a junction thinking ‘the next town I go through is Anytown’, not realizing that the next major town is one many miles beyond that and not even on your route. However, most road atlases pick out the major towns in some way, so you should be able to see if you are entering an area like this when planning your route.

Road Trip1 at How to Plan a Road Trip


Direction signs in most countries are colour-coded. In most of Europe, the same colour-coding system as the UK’s is used: a blue background for motorways; green on primary routes; and white with black lettering on other routes. On non-motorway routes, motorway names are picked out with a blue background and on ‘other’ routes the primary road numbers are shown on a green background. Tourist routes, information points and attractions are shown with a brown background.

We’ve all experienced ‘motorway blur’ where, because they tend to look the same, you suddenly find yourself thinking ‘have we joined the M25 yet or are we still on the MII?’ If that happens, look out for the periodic marker signs that have now been added to motorways. These replace one of the little blue and white roadside marker posts but can be read from the road and they say something like ‘MII B 1541’ which tells you, and the police and Highways Agency, that you have just passed marker 1541 on the Mil’s carriageway B.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

(Chief Designer / Editor / Journalist) – Zaheer is the chief designer of Motorward.com. He’s also responsible for part of the publishing team as well as a publisher and writer.