Long-journey Guide

By: Robert. Wood

Planning a long journey? Then read our guide to staying safe whilst out on a road trip.

Check you car is roadworthy

Before you start off on a long road journey it is vital to check that your vehicle is in good working order. Check that the lights, indicators and windscreen wipers are all working correctly. With the British weather being as famously reliable as it is, you never know what type of conditions you might encounter. Likewise check the brakes, steering, exhaust system and tyres carefully for faults. If you are unsure or concerned about the road worthiness of your car, get an expert in to have a look. You would always get a doctor in if you weren't sure about the state of heart, so why do anything different for your car. Both could be matters of life and death.

Plan your route

If you are traveling an unfamiliar route then make sure you plan your journey - especially if traveling with young children. What with internet maps and satellite navigation there is no excuse for getting yourself lost, and websites such as the AA route planner can make getting from A-z a doddle. It is also sensible to use major routes and not back roads - even if they cut traveling distance.

Make sure everyone buckles up

While driving, always wear your seatbelt. This sounds like obvious advice, but a recent poll found that one in four adults failed to buckle up on every journey. If you are traveling with kids the make sure they always have their belt on, as it can often be tempting to undo it when mum and dad are looking the other way in the front. If they find the belt rubs uncomfortably because of their height then buy and fit an adapter that will make their ride more comfortable. Remember, drivers can be fined if anyone in their vehicle is not buckled up.

Leave enough space in front

When driving on the motorway always sure that you leave the appropriate stopping distance. This is one of the least obeyed of the motorway rules, despite the fact that it is probably the most important. Even at just 45 miles per hour it takes the average saloon 44 metres to stop. Remember also that these following distances must be increased at night, or in foggy or rainy conditions when the road is wet.

Take regular breaks

Avoid fatigue and eye strain by making frequent rest stops. Research suggests that up to 350 people are killed every year in the UK by sleep related accidents, so take a break every two hours and never drive if you are feeling unwell. If you have someone with you then alternate the driving duties with them, and never set out to drive too far in a single day.

Carry spare parts

It could also be worth carrying a spare fan belt and radiator hose in the boot - even if your car is new or has been given a clean bill of health. These items are inexpensive, and will certainly save you time and money if you do breakdown. Learn what they do, how they can break, and how to replace them quickly.

Car Accidents
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