We love road trips (surprisingly enough because we love cars and we love driving!)
Summer road trips around the UK are definitely underrated but are becoming increasingly popular – even on today’s congested roads; the freedom, the sense of adventure, the sheer joy of the road unfolding before you are all very exciting.
But without proper planning, your adventure could turn into a nightmare.
So how do you prepare for such a long drive? We have our own way to ensure we’re ready, whether it’s a packing list, a box of games, some favourite foods, or a good road trip play list.
Here are our top tips on how to enjoy your long journey safely.
1. Keep your car in good condition
If you keep your car serviced regularly and check the basics before a long journey, your car is unlikely to let you down.
Make sure you do a check of the following before you set off to prevent any unnecessary emergencies:
The minimum, legal tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm, though most motoring organisations recommend maintaining a tread depth of at least 3mm.
The wrong pressure affects steering and braking. If tyres are under-inflated they will wear more quickly or in the wrong places and cause the problems. If you’ve lots of luggage and extra passengers, the required tyre pressure will be different. And don’t forget to check the spare wheel and the jacking equipment.
Check water/coolant (anti freeze in cold weather) and oil levels to prevent over-heating and engine failure.
Windscreen and Lights
Ensure the windscreen washer reservoir is full and that wiper blades are not split or worn. Lights must be clean and fully working to meet legal requirements.
2. Setting Off
Try and relax – many crashes/near misses occur within first 2 hours of a journey – the stress of getting everyone and everything into the car, securing the home, telling the neighbours, dropping the dog at the kennel and so on can dishearten even the most enthusiastic of travellers.
Set your leaving time half an hour earlier than your original plan to allow for any last minute hitches and get comfortable with some good music on as soon as you get in the car.
3. Pack an emergency kit
It’s important to keep an emergency kit in your car at all times.
It needn’t be expensive but this is the list we like to go by:
Tools to change a tyre
A fully charged mobile
A first-aid kit
It’s also wise to subscribe to a roadside assistance plan—just make sure you know where to call in an emergency and what kind of assistance your policy includes.
4. Keep the weight down
Store heavy items low in the seat wells so they won’t become projectiles during a sudden stop. Try and pack as light as you can and only take what’s really necessary.
It’s easy to get carried away on car journey’s with packing because you don’t have as strict a baggage allowance compared to flying but it’s much easier and will cost less in fuel if you pack light.
5. Plan your route
A little knowledge goes a long way: when planning your route, take into account the times of day when you’ll be passing through busy towns (avoid rush hours) and where there are roadworks.
Why not plan your route to take in a tourist attraction or somewhere you’d like to see? It might add time to your journey but you’ll end up enjoying the trip more, breaking the monotony (important if you’re using a lot of motorways), and turning a necessity into an adventurous road trip!
6. Take regular breaks
Every two hours, switch drivers or take a quick pit stop. Drinking water will also help keep you more alert, and force you to take bathroom breaks.
It’s also wise to get a good night’s sleep before a long journey, stopping in a safe place whenever you feel tired, drinking a couple of cups of caffeinated coffee and taking a short snooze if you feel sleepy.
You can never go wrong with a good sing-a-long playlist so get busy with this before you go. There may be times where the radio loses signal so be prepared for that!
Long journeys can get tedious, so if you get bored of music, why not try an interesting podcast or word book?
8. Ignore phone calls
Even if you’re hands-free, talking on the phone is dangerous and even with the new law, over 200 people a day are getting fined for using their phone while driving.
Put it in your glovebox so you are not even tempted to touch it and take breaks at the service station if you need to check it.
9. Take the road less travelled
Why not dodge motorways and use smaller roads instead? It will take longer but it’s bound to me more interesting – the UK countryside is beautiful and you’ll see places you didn’t even know existed!
10. Have Fun
Our most important piece of advice is make sure you have fun and stay safe!
We’d love to hear from you and where your favourite UK road trip destinations are? Comment below to share.