When you start out on a road trip cross country, there are things you can do to make it a safe and pleasant trip. As the driver, you need to make sure that you maintain peak performance while at the wheel. Plan your trip and prepare your rig. Make sure the rig is current on maintenance and take care of any potential mechanical or wear or age problems so you can be confident of proper operation of your rig. Plan your travel at least a day ahead so you know where you can expect to find places to stop for fuel, food, rest, sightseeing, and overnight.
Prepare yourself. Eat light as a heavy meal might make you drowsy. Know the times during the day when you are likely to get sleepy (early afternoon for a lot of folks) so you can plan a rest stop at that time. Keep daytime naps to only 20 minutes or so. If you are upset, angry, sleepy or otherwise distracted by your health, feelings, or emotions, you should avoid driving if at all possible.
Talk to your copilot while driving and keep your eyes moving. Keep the temperature on the cool side with a lot of fresh air. Plan stops so you can get out and stretch your legs every hour or two. Note all the road signs and keep an eye on traffic, including traffic to the rear. Avoid urban areas during prime commute times.
"As early as the 1950s, New Jersey Turnpike officials coined the term 'highway hypnosis' to describe a tendency for drivers to collide with cars parked on the shoulder of the highway." [ J.D. Younger, 1997 AAA Car & Travel (http://www-afsc.saia.af.mil/AFSC/index.html )]. When you are not quite up to speed and 'hypnotized' by travel, you will steer where you look. Bright or flashing lights may attract your attention and, if you don't wake up, you might steer right into whatever is shining the light.
KCET ( http://www.kcet.org/inside_kcet/ )reports that "Mature drivers are especially susceptible to "highway hypnosis," a particularly deadly problem. Symptoms include: Increased blinking; Lapses in time that can't be remembered; Voices and sounds that appear far away, or sometimes louder than normal; The car slows without you being aware of the fact that you let up on the gas pedal; The very common and deadly tendency to "doze off" while behind the wheel."
Also see http://www.nsc.org/library/facts/drowsdr.htm
Know the signs of fatigue and don't get to feeling too safe while driving. Don't succumb to highway hypnosis. Don't fall asleep at the wheel!
If you allow yourself to sit for hours without much movement, you increase the risk of DVT. This is a blood circulation problem caused when muscle movement does not help the flow of blood through the veins, especially the leg veins. Find out about DVT at http://www.doh.gov.uk/dvt/ - or - http://www.travelhealth.co.uk/advice/dvt.htm -
Distractions are often seen as the enemy of safe driving but distractions are also necessary to keep a driver alert and aware. Watch out when a distraction pulls your eyes from the road or your hands from the controls. Many states will tend to find fault with drivers who are doing anything except driving when an accident occurs. Starting with CB radio microphones in the seventies up to the current rant against cell phones, there may be a possibility of citation for doing certain things while driving.
In most cases, most distractions can be avoided or controlled. May sure there isn't anything loose in the rig (see section on Secure The Load! in the physics article). Relax and take a break whenever you need to eat a meal, take a break, or check something.
Prepare any snack or drink ahead of time or have a co-pilot handle preparation. Then make sure to have a place to put things within easy reach so the driver can put down a cup or whatever easily to a spot where it won't tip over or slide around.
Distracted Driver Test at RV Safety
Equipment, supplies, information, and execution are the keys to keeping healthy on the road.
Towing a trailer: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/problems/Equipment/towing/index.htm
Can AM RV Hitch Hints - http://www.can-am-rv.com/cantow1.htm