Skip to Content

How Frequently Should You Take Breaks When Driving Long Distances?

Long-distance driving can be tiresome, and that’s putting it mildly. That’s why you must take short breaks when driving for hours. But how frequently should you stop?

You should take a minimum break of 15 minutes for every two hours of driving. If driving for more than two hours, your break should last at least 30 minutes.

This post will outline everything you need to know about taking breaks when driving long distances, so keep reading!

How Frequently Should You Take Breaks When Driving Long Distances?

A break from driving should be taken after every two hours.

State-sponsored rest zones will give you a good location to stretch your legs, have a bite to eat, and use the washroom if you’re driving on a highway.

Also, gas stations, local eateries, and parks are great places to stop after a long journey.

Resting for 15 to 30 minutes will help you plan for the next part of your drive by ensuring the car’s fuel will sustain you.

Also, if you have kids, this is a perfect time for them to visit the restroom to minimize the frequent stopovers.

Signs That You Need a Break

Perhaps you need to stop even sooner than every two hours. How will you know? Your body will tell you in the following ways.

  • Drowsiness
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Itchy eyes
  • Repetitive yawning
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Pain in the neck, back, and shoulders

Why Taking Breaks Is Crucial When Driving Long Distances

There are several reasons you need breaks when driving for hours at a time. Let’s go over them now.

Reduce Fatigue

Stopping to take a break helps you get some fresh air and lessen your travel-related fatigue.

When drivers are fatigued, they occasionally experience brief periods of drowsiness. This could lead to adverse outcomes like an unintentional steering wheel movement or, far worse, an accident.

Stop after two hours, especially if you are driving at night, to be safe.

Beat Back Pain

If you find getting a comfortable sitting position challenging or start feeling stiffness in your neck or back, it’s time to rest.

Remaining in one position for a long time can be very stressful on your lower back. Holding onto the wheel for an extended period might also cause arm tiredness.

Stretching your legs during a break assists your joints in relaxing and stretching out your back, lowering the likelihood of damage and pain.

Visit The Restroom

Did you know that holding it in for too long is harmful to your bladder?

Most rest zones feature restrooms, so always take advantage of them.


Another reason for taking a break is to eat, as you can’t really do that when driving. Most refilling stations have a snack bar where you can buy something if you run out of packed snacks.

Escape Bad Weather

Driving in heavy rain, strong winds, and heavy snow can be dangerous, so pull over and wait for the weather to pass before continuing on your trip.

Keep Track of the Gas

You can feel so awake and prepared for the road that you overlook the mileage. Eventually, your vehicle suddenly stops less than a mile from the closest filling station, and it’s already after dark.

Regular breaks ensure that you continually refuel and reduce your risk of being stuck in the middle of nowhere because of a lack of fuel.

How to Perfectly Plan For Your Breaks

You need to have a good plan on how you take breaks when driving. Explore the following tips on how to stick to the schedule.

Make Travel Plans

Sufficiently plan your route before the traveling day.

To identify the locations best suited for stopping, pay close attention to the parts of your route with a high likelihood of traffic congestion.

Also, divide your journey into segments depending on how long it is.

Set Reminders

Things happen on the road, and you might forget to take a break. To help you stay on track, set a reminder on your phone for every two to three hours.

Once the alarm goes off, pull over to a safe place and take your 15-minute break.

Never Predict an Arrival Time

Concentrating on arrival might cause irresponsible driving. Instead of putting yourself through unneeded stress and anxiety, give a comprehensive estimate for the arrival time.

What To Do When Taking a Break During a Long Drive

Apart from stretching, eating a snack, and going to the restroom, there are other things to do while on a long road trip. Here are some suggestions.

Take Photos

When you stop in a rural area, look for a serene place and take a photo.

Natural preserves, recreational areas, or parks along your route are the best places to capture photos.

Use Your Phone

Being on your phone while driving is not allowed, but if you schedule a break during your journey, you can take a few minutes to scroll through your social media feed or email.

Explore Peculiar and Unique Roadside Attractions

When preparing for a long journey, look for nearby attractions on Google.

For instance, many highways have huge rocks, rivers, and traditional trees on the roadside, which are eye-catching.

How Frequently Should You Stop For Gas?

Planning your itinerary to include stops and noting the locations of the cheapest filling stations is a good idea.

How Long Should You Drive in a Day?

To avoid the risks of driving for too long, you should limit your drivetime to no more than nine hours per day.

This can be increased to 12 hours if you share driving responsibilities with someone else, but spending the whole day driving may make the trip less enjoyable. Whenever possible, aim to drive for not more than eight hours.

Does Long Driving Harm Your Vehicle?

A lengthy drive won’t harm your car if the engine is in good condition.

Before departing on a long-distance trip, get your vehicle serviced by a qualified mechanic to be on the safe side.

Drive carefully and keep an eye on your tires and fluids to avoid damage. Moreover, never overlook cautionary signals, odd odors, noises, or warning lights.


Rest stops are necessary, especially when driving long distances. You are supposed to take a break for 15 minutes after a two-hour drive.

The most important reason for always taking a break is to beat fatigue and drowsiness!