9-18 Ways to Stay Sane Driving by Yourself

My Starbucks water bottle filled with crushed ice and water — refilled at each 5-minute stop (which becomes the main reason for five minute stops).

by Carol Sokolsky

Driving 12 hours in one day — by myself — is not something I long to do!  Yet, I am facing just that…a grueling, long, solo drive back to a place I call home, where my mom is working hard to overcome her broken body, caused by a horrible farm accident. To get to my mom safely with only a handful of 5-minute breaks along the way, I need each of these things to keep me sane and wide awake for the 12 road-hours that loom before me. I am not ranking because in my mind, all are the most critical for my sanity!

  1. Coffee. Black coffee. Oh, and then black coffee.
  2. SiriusXM radio. Couldn’t do life without you, Sirius. Talk radio, ’60s and ’70s music…ah, yes.
  3. GPS set to mom’s bedside. Love that I will never have to think, just listen and drive.
  4. My cruise control that keeps me at least five car-lengths behind anything all day, making the adjustments without me doing anything. Sweet.
  5. Gluten free anything…pretzels, crackers…as these will become my best friends by about 4 p.m. Because five minute stops don’t lend for gourmet road meals.
  6. Three pairs of sunglasses. Because you never worry about much makeup when leaving at 5 a.m.
  7. All Sons & Daughters CDs. Because I never start a road trip without them.
  8. Apple Play — now that I’ve figured it out on my car settings.
  9. My Starbucks water bottle filled with crushed ice and water — refilled at each 5-minute stop (which becomes the main reason for five minute stops).
  10. Hands-free everything. Will I ever remember all the voice prompts? At least I can talk to anyone without taking my eyes off the road and change channels with just couple of words.
  11. Favorite jeans and flip flops. Because you never want to look like you just jumped out of bed. (Revisit #6 because you can hide until the sun goes down!)
  12. My Stella & Dot Hudson Bag.  Girls, you need one, seriously. Don’t even ask, just get one.
  13. Voice text so I can make notes to myself as I drive. I could write an entire article that might otherwise escape my mind if I wait.
  14. “Alert, Alert” if I drift out of my lane. This is a safety feature I love. And no, I don’t use the hands-free drive setting. And yes, I have one. Who does that anyhow?
  15. I sing in the car. Yup, I do. Loudly.
  16. I count FedEx trucks. Just something my son started when he was six. And it makes me smile that after all these years, I still find myself counting FedEx trucks. Reminds me to be thankful. Yes, it does.
  17. Coffee…black coffee…and then, maybe, black coffee.


Carol Sokolsky is a relative newcomer to Tulsa. She relocated from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in October, 2014 after retiring from FedEx Services, Global Account Management. She spent most of her 33 FedEx years as a road warrior, leading a large global management team and serving one global customer for over 20 years. Her passion for blogging began in 2010 as she launched a two-year blog that chronicled the journey of her husband’s valiant fight with cancer and ultimately the end of his journey. Her blog became a book, “Sid’s Journey”. She continues to journal daily on just about everything!

You can also read about Carol’s experience at Cain’s Ballroom, her Journey Through Grief, having a life coach, why Tulsa is such a great place to live, kneel, her journey through losing a son, or her journey through a family member’s addiction, Antediluvian, her journey through a tornado, and Yellow Roses.

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