Millions of families are expected to take to the streets in the coming days as English and Welsh schools split up for the summer, joining the Scottish and Northern Irish pupils who are already on holiday.
The RAC predicts an unprecedented level of traffic during the summer as millions of people prefer to holiday in the UK rather than abroad, while the West Country, Scotland and Wales will visit the most visitors.
Whether it is a trip to the coast or the countryside, such trips pose an extra question to our cars and to ourselves, so it is important to make sure that your car is in good condition before you leave and that you are ready to handle the stress of long journeys.
Here are some simple checks you can do on your car, as well as some advice on how to stay cool on the road.
Summer holiday traffic: the roads and travel times to avoid while millions leave …
As the only point of contact between your car and the road, your tires are of utmost importance for your safety, and a few quick inspections will make it roadworthy. Check the pressure, remember to adjust it to fit the car’s load, and check the tread depth – the legal minimum is 1.6 mm across the central three – quarters of the tire. Also be on the lookout for cracks, tears or bumps in the tire. This can lead to disastrous failure along the way, especially if the temperatures are high, and therefore any signs of damage should be assessed by a professional.
Thousands of breakdown points can be avoided each year with a few quick checks under the hood, so make sure all your fluids are replenished before you leave. It is quick and easy to check your oil, coolant, brake and wash fluid levels, and it can save you from delays and an embarrassing call to the repair service.
Maybe your headlights are not needed in the summer, but faulty lights are a common MOT disorder and can put you in trouble with the police. So check everything before you leave. Be sure to check the operation of headlights, rear and brake lights, taillights, indicators and fog lights. At the same time, check the condition of your windshield wipers to make sure they are not worn or damaged, and clean the screen.
You might think this is an obvious thing, but data from Highways England shows that in 2019, 6,000 highway crashes were blamed on drivers who were without fuel. Traffic jams or diversions can easily eat into your car’s fuel reserves, so make sure you are full before you leave.
Once you know that your car is in good condition, you need to take a few steps to make sure that you are also:
Plan ahead and give yourself enough time
It is always a good idea to check your route in advance, even if you plan to use satellite navigation to guide you. If you check your route in advance, you can identify possible problems and plan your lunch and other interruptions in advance. Try to be flexible with your plans, and if you can not do so, give yourself extra time to get to your destination. congestion or delays.
Take a break
Sitting in the car for too long can make people uncomfortable and irritated, so it’s a good idea to take a break every two hours. If you climb out, stretch your legs and get fresh air, it will help you feel more relaxed and energetic.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Try not to eat junk food or a heavy meal before traveling, as this can make you feel uncomfortable or drowsy. However, driving when you are hungry or thirsty is not good for your concentration or mood, so stick with water and healthy snacks.
Keep the kids entertained
If you travel with children, they will inevitably get bored and frustrated, so find ways to distract them. Play games like I Spy, sing a few songs or bring activity books along so they can take something from the journey. If all else fails, a tablet or DVD player can keep it happy for a while.