Setting off on holiday is supposed to be a pleasant and enjoyable experience. The last thing you need are mishaps involving your car to spoil that well-earned break. Read our tips below on how to stay stress and trouble free this summer.
Plan in Advance
No matter where you’re driving this summer, be sure to plan your journey well in advance. It will instantly de-stress you and allow for a far more pleasant experience. Think about the little things, like which routes you will take and where you will stop to eat. Make sure you have an alternative route planned in case of any unexpected traffic.
Familiarise yourself with the route in advance. You can do this on the internet, for example via a route-planner, a Satellite Navigation system or even a traditional road map.
If you have children, forward thinking is crucial to keeping them content. Having the journey planned in stages will ultimately give them something to look forward to, possibly even preventing any dreaded arguments.
Check Your Car Fluids
During the hot summer months this really is essential. Your car is a machine and it needs it’s fluid levels constantly managed. If you neglect them, especially in the hot summer months, you could end up stranded. Make sure the basics are always looked after, which include the engine oil, coolant levels, windscreen washers and finally the fuel. The last thing you need is to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere.
In reality you should always monitor the condition of your tyres. However if you are setting of in the car this summer, quickly check the pressures and the tread depth. It could save a lot of trouble in the long run. Wrongly inflated tyres, plus those with inadequate tread can cause both breakdowns and crashes. The increased heat during the summer will aggravate existing tyre problems so be sure to make allowances for any additional luggage and passenger weight in the vehicle.
For more information read our car care tips.
This may sound trivial but windscreen glare can cause some big problems. It’s particularly dangerous at dusk and dawn and every year causes some serious accidents. To help minimise the glare keep your windscreen clear of dust and debris. Ensure your windscreen wipers are efficient and the washer fluid is always topped up.
Finally have a dark pair of sunglasses handy for when the sun sets in the evenings.
We all hate the dreaded question, ‘Are we there yet?’. It’s enough to drive the calmest of parents crazy so try and avoid it from the offset. Entertaining the children is the best way to make a journey go smoothly.
Hand held consoles have flooded the market in recent years with battery lives of up to eight hours. If however you’re more traditional and interactive, a classic game of eye spy is the perfect way to help the journey along.
Emergency Travel Kit
In these modern times people don’t believe new cars are capable of breakdowns, you can learn how to identify one from our Detecting a Car Breakdown Guide. Unfortunately they are wrong, as any car can break down regardless of it’s age. No summer drive should commence without an emergency travel kit.
You will need a breakdown triangle, a blanket for warmth, a mobile phone, torches and high visibility jackets for the whole family. Furthermore you should always travel with proof of your insurance and breakdown cover.
Whilst driving you should always pay full attention to the road. That’s why it’s important to have essentials such as tissues, drinks, food and CD’s easily accessible. Make sure the passengers can locate them without having to disrupt your concentration from the road.
The best tip we can give is to know where everything is packed. Make sure things you need are at the top of bags and not buried away under clothes and holiday luggage.
Take Regular Breaks
To avoid driver fatigue you need to stop for a 15 minute period every two hours.
The chances are it will be hot during the summer so plenty of breaks and refreshments is absolutely essential. Don’t see scheduled breaks as a chore, instead see them as part of your holiday. Pack some snacks for you and your passengers, seek out picnic spots along your route and utilise the extra time you have factored in.
Explore the Scenic Route
Let’s be honest British motorways can be very boring. It’s even worse in heavy traffic and extreme heat. Instead why not take the scenic route? Wind the window down and ease your way through the Kent countryside.
During the summer our motorways can be extremely congested, especially on planned bank holiday weekends. Take advantage and stop off at designated points of interest, stretch your legs and ultimately keep up the morale of your passengers.
We’ve all heard the term ‘Postcode Lottery’ when it comes to fuel prices in Kent. You can pay as much as 6p per litre more in one Kent town compared to another. Before you set off be sure to check our Kent’s Cheapest Fuel pages so you get the best price.
To save fuel on your journey try the following tips:
– If you use the roof to transport luggage, invest in a roof box.
– Once at your destination remove all luggage (including the roofbox) for less drag and weight
– Open windows will cause increased drag. If it’s not too hot close them and use the vents
– Keep the doors and windows closed whilst running the Air Con
– Use the Air Con to reach a desired temperature, then switch it off
Make sure you then spend the savings on a little holiday treat!
Always be well prepared for a bout of travel sickness, especially if you’re travelling with young children. There’s not much worse than having a poorly child in the back of a car on a long, hot journey. There are a variety of over the counter remedies for travel sickness, plus pressure bracelets which sit comfortably on the wrist.
If natural remedies are your thing try a ginger based biscuit, as they’re famous for fighting back the symptoms of nausea. (Plus they can be viewed as a treat for the children).
Does anybody suffer from hayfever? If so then during the summer this is bound to effect you on your travels. Have all the medicine required conveniently at hand, along with some headache tablets and fresh water.
Keep Your Belongings Safe
Visiting the beach or going swimming can lead to disaster for drivers. Never swim with your keys in your pocket as the salt can damage the fob and may lock you out the vehicle. Of course at the same time never leave them unattended whilst you swim. Thieves actively watch tourists and make a handsome living off your simple mistakes.
Ideally, always have one person watching your items, but if that’s not an option seek secure lockers.
Once your vehicle is parked NEVER leave the window open, not even a fraction. If you do you are asking for thieves to strike. Keep all valuables out of sight and take the most important items with you whenever possible.