How to stay safe on the road this Spring and Summer
This image was sourced from: Waimate District Council. https://www.waimatedc.govt.nz/services/roads/h-road-safety
As we enter Spring and Summer, you may start to travel more often, so here’s 10 handy driving tips to help you keep safe and make sure you’re well equipped for the lead to up the warmer weather chaos. Roads are likely to be busier during these times, especially in popular holiday destinations such as Scotland, Wales, the Lake District, Devon and Cornwall. However, this should not put you off exploring our beautiful country.
A road trip especially, is supposed to be a fun time, one that sees you enjoy an adventure across the land, exploring what you can only find by car1. It’s important that you get to your destination safely by making sure your vehicle is fit for the trip1.
1. Check your tyres – Before you get ready for your journey it’s important to check your vehicles tyres for general wear and tear, make sure the tyre tread is at least 1.6mm and ensure you have the correct recommended tyre pressure as this reduces the risk of a blow out your journey.
2. Take frequent breaks – It’s important to take breaks when driving a long journey as fatigue can impact your reactions, 9 in 10 people ignore the recommended limit for 2 hours driving or less before a break.
3. Secure your luggage – When on any journey luggage should be stored correctly in case of an accident. When stowing items in the boot, the thing to keep in mind is that the forces on the rear seat backrest in the event of a collision should be kept as low as possible. So, the heaviest items should rest on the floor of the boot and just behind the backrest.
4. Plan ahead – Familiarise yourself with the route, drive outside of peak times and avoid busy rush hours (between 7:30-9:30 am and 4pm-6:30pm). Plan for extra time to allow for breaks, last minute changes like road works, traffic collisions and a change in weather - Get traffic information to plan your journey - GOV.UK
5. Check and top up liquids – Fuel is expensive on motorways and in cities as the demand is usually higher, fuelling up before you go also decreases your risk of running out of fuel or paying over and above at service stations. Making sure your washer fluid is topped up also helps visibility when there is salt/dirt on the roads which restrict your view when on your windscreen.
6. Take care overtaking - When overtaking on a motorway or carriageway always move back to the left lane. The lanes to the right are overtaking lanes only, unless specified otherwise. It’s important to move back over to avoid causing congestion if the left-hand lane is clear.
7. Keep your distance - Keeping distance between you and the driver in front allows you to manoeuvre around the vehicle if it breaks down and increases your ability to see further ahead.
8. Buckle up - not wearing a seatbelt or wearing it incorrectly can land you or your passengers a fine of up to £500. When travelling with babies and children make sure the car seat is fitted correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
9. Are you towing? - Don't speed. The maximum speed for a trailer on a single carriageway is 50mph and on a dual carriageway 60mph. Some overseas countries have lower speeds, so check before you travel. Take care round corners, don’t move into the outside lane on a motorway unless instructed, do not carry passengers in a moving caravan.
10. Fully charged? – If travelling in an electric vehicle, check the distance your car can travel on a full charge and the type of chargers it can use. Map out charging points on your route, it’s important to consider that there may be a wait for a charger, so plan your wait times for these.
Keep safe driving this Spring and remember to check your car insurance and breakdown cover are all up to date. Car insurance gives you financial protection in the event of an accident. While breakdown cover isn’t a legal requirement like car insurance, taking this out means that if you were to breakdown you would have a professional, trained mechanic to help assist you.