Activities to do during the long ride back home

Madison Degnitz, Lode Writer

While my drive home is relatively short at around only 3 hours, many Michigan Tech students, like those below the bridge, have a long drive ahead of them as Thanksgiving break approaches. Sitting in the car for 8 or more hours can be tedious and boring whether you’re a driver or a passenger, so I’ve compiled this list of things to do to make your drive home, wherever that is, fly by as quickly as Thanksgiving break itself will.

Are you the one responsible for getting yourself – and possibly others – home safely? As the driver, you definitely have the hardest task ahead of you for a long drive. There’s no naps, no phones, no books – nothing that a passenger would typically use to pass the time with. You have to stay awake and focused as you drive. Something that may seem obvious, but is still essential to staying alert while driving, is sleep.

Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before your drive home: 7 hours is key. You want your body and mind to be well rested, especially if you have a full day of driving ahead of you.
Some other essential things that are not meant to keep you alert, but are just as important, are pre-trip tasks to complete to keep you safe. Make sure you check your tires before hitting the road – you wouldn’t want to discover you have a bad tire when you’re in the middle of nowhere.

In case of an emergency, make sure you have the proper gear in your car. These items could include jumper cables, a warm coat and blanket, and/or a first aid kit.

Okay, so you’ve slept 7 hours and you’re ready and well rested to drive. Now what?

Things like a drink, gum, and music are all basic and simple things that can keep you alert and focused, especially if you have to drive home alone and don’t have someone to talk with. Since you know how long your drive is, you can plan ahead and create a playlist on your phone full of songs that you enjoy that is the same amount of time as your drive. Plug your phone in before you start driving, and you’re set! This also keeps both of your hands on the wheel, as you won’t need to change the radio to find a station or a song that you like.

All of this stuff is good to know, but what if you’re not driving? As a passenger, there are lots of things you can do to keep yourself entertained. With the world at our fingertips, cell phones provide a great tool to prevent boredom on long trips. Music, movies, tv shows, ebooks, and games are all available with the click of a button – or an app – on most cellular devices.

Mobile devices are great and all, but it can sometimes be hard on your eyes to stare at a screen for long periods of time, or even impossible if you suffer from motion sickness.

If you don’t like to spend long periods of car rides napping like I do, there are other things that can keep you occupied that don’t involve technology. Reading, writing, coloring, or drawing are all easy to do in a car. Long drives also offer time to learn or practice other skills, such as knitting, crocheting, or embroidering which require less fine motor skills if you find yourself on a long and bumpy stretch of road.

If you’re looking for something to do with more than one person, there are plenty of great games to play in the car. There are games like I Spy, the Alphabet Game, and the good old-fashioned License Plate Game. The blog TripBase offers some great other choices and game explanations here:

These games can help keep the passengers and the driver interested and awake and make the trip go by faster — yes, even, I Spy.

Hopefully, my list has provided you with something to do on your upcoming trip home. If you don’t like any of the ideas, you can always just grab a warm blanket and a comfy pillow and take a much-needed nap, because as a college student, everyone knows you need it. Most importantly, remember to stay safe, however you get home, and enjoy your Thanksgiving Break!

*Note: This article ran 11/15/2018