Safety Precautions for Traveling Long Distances This Christmas
The goal of long distance driving is to get to your destination safely. December is a season for driving over to families in the Christmas season and usually involves having an overcrowded car, full of friends, family, neighbours and gifts. Whilst you may be keen to get there in double quick time, that’s when mistakes happen, especially in the dreaded winter weather. Here are a few tips on how to reach your destination in one piece.
Before the journey
Before the journey you will need to make sure your vehicle is serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and your tyres are filled to the correct pressure. Under inflated tyres will not only make it harder to steer, they will also drag and increase fuel costs, which is the last thing you need when you’ve spent most of your money on Christmas gifts. It would also be a good idea to make sure that all windows are clear and remove any ice of bits of snow that could obstruct your view.
Skidding is the greatest danger. Drive carefully, with smooth, gentle application of the accelerator, steering and particularly, brakes. If your vehicle starts to skid, gently lift off the accelerator and steer in the direction of the skid. Beware of black ice; it is most commonly found in areas that are shadowed from the sun. Although your car may be nice and warm inside, it will still be below freezing outside, which is perfect for the formation of dreaded ice.
Tiredness is a massive killer on the roads. At this time of the year many people are driving long distances on unfamiliar roads and often depart in the early hours of the morning to avoid traffic. Tips for this would be to plan ahead, get an early night if you know you will be setting off in the early hours of the morning, take regular breaks at service stations and share the driving with someone else. If you do feel extremely tired, stay for another day, don’t try and fight your fatigue. The only cure is a good night’s sleep.
Christmas is a time where you have a few too many brandies to go with the festive cheer and feel a little more ‘merry’ than usual. The message is plain and simple; don’t have too many alcoholic beverages the night before you plan to drive. Remember, you don’t have to be drunk to still be affected by alcohol, which is why, if you are planning on driving soon, you’re probably best not to have any alcohol at all.
If you’re not the one driving but the one entertaining, offer your guests a place to stay, don’t let them drive home when you know they have a few too many on Christmas day.
So, this Christmas make sure you get you and your family home safe, by following these tips. Driving safely, responsibly and remember to prepare for any delays, which aren’t the best gift you’d hope to receive!
SmartLearner Driving School would like to thank Alexandra, a car safety specialist and keen blogger, for her contribution to our blog. She writes on behalf of top legal experts Gray and Co, who offer professional and thorough legal advice.