Summer Driving Tips
It seems that with many people concerned about employment prospects and the on-going depressed economy, even more of us will be turning to British holidays this summer and hoping that our UK weather will be sunny and hot.
However, hot weather and British road travel are by no means a partnership made in heaven, and as many motorists are now running slightly older cars than previously, it’s more important than ever to take steps to ensure you don’t start your holiday sitting sizzling on the side of the road! Plus hot cars, hot kids and summer traffic queues will all try the patience of a saint, so a bit of thoughtful preparation and careful planning will ensure you arrive at your British holiday destination in good time and shape!
This summer, GEM is urging Mums and Dads to be fully prepared before long trips in the car, especially with children. The not-for-profit company, which also has a road safety charity arm, has put together some top tips to help motorists along the way.
- Always prepare your car before leaving on a long journey. Check: tyres / brakes / windscreen wash / lights / oil / water levels prior to setting off.
- If towing a caravan, ensure you carry out suitable checks for its roadworthiness too.
- Keep an eye on your petrol levels, especially if driving in the countryside and you are unsure where the next filling station will be. Try to never let the gauge fall below one quarter.
- Make sure you have adequate car breakdown cover that will get you to your destination with minimal disruption in the unfortunate event of a breakdown – and make sure you have your emergency call out number with you.
- Plan your journey so you know where you are going, taking a map or GPRS system with you plus telephone number for your destination in case you do get lost or break down.
- Allow extra time to get to your destination if travelling at peak times. Better still try and avoid Friday evenings when everyone else will be on the road!
Travelling with children:
- Check that car seats are fitted properly and that straps are adjusted to fit the child comfortably.
- Ensure your children are dressed suitably in clothing that can adapt to changing British weather. Lots of thin layers and loose fitting clothing will ensure maximum comfort and avoid over heating in warm weather.
- Ensure you make regular stops – at least fifteen minutes every two hours – for the loo and some fresh air.
- Make sure you have healthy snacks and plenty of water on board to keep everyone hydrated. Avoid chocolate and sugary, sticky sweeties and fizzy drinks at all cost.
- If stopping for a meal, try to avoid eating greasy foods and over-filling tummies – meals should be plain and simple, and on the small side to help avoid travel sickness. Best still, pack a homemade picnic for the journey. You’ll save money and you’ll avoid any arguments about what to eat!
- Take some chilled damp flannels in a sealed container – you’ll be surprised how often your kids will want to wash their faces on a warm day to cool down!
- Prepare yourself with game ideas such as I-SPY, Car number and letter games to keep them entertained during the journey. Stories and music on personal MP3 players are a great idea and avoids disagreements about what to listen to!
- Never leave children shut in a hot car – not even for just a few minutes.
Don’t forget Fido!
- As UK holidays get more popular, so does taking your pet on holiday. Just like kids, pets can also suffer travel sickness and overheating so they will need to have plenty of loo, water and fresh air breaks too!
- Of course, never leave your pet locked in a hot car, and you may wish to consider some sort of restraint to ensure your own and your pets’ safety whilst on the move.
In case of Breakdown
- Breaking down on the side of the road can be extremely hazardous. Safe practice in a breakdown situation can literally mean the difference between life and death and GEM urges drivers to carefully consider the situation and the safety of their passengers and themselves before attempting to leave the car.
- GEM has a FREE information guide “Motorist Breakdown and Emergency Guide” which is available free of charge by visiting www.motoringassist.com and GEM recommends everyone keep a copy in their glove box to read carefully before taking action in a breakdown situation.
- Of particular note, don’t forget to tell the breakdown company that you have children on board.
- Also, if it’s warm and you wish to leave the car, exit with extreme caution on the side of the car away from the traffic. Find somewhere to sit that is a good distance away from the road and fumes and where you can keep an eye out for help to arrive.
Order your FREE Motorist’s Breakdown and Emergency Guide today.