Summer is the perfect time to hit the road and take a much-needed break.
But whether you’re planning a road trip to the beach, heading to some remote countryside lanes, or just escaping to a different city for a few days, there are some things you should do before jumping in the car.
In this article, we take a look at some of the key summer driving safety tips you need to follow. Read on to prep for the ultimate summer road trip.
Check up on your car
If you’re going to be travelling a long distance — especially in warm weather with extra weight from your luggage — it’s important that everything is in working order. Book your car in for a service if it’s overdue, and make sure you do these key checks before you leave:
- Check your coolant levels to make sure it’s between the minimum and maximum levels as this can help keep your engine from overheating
- Use the dipstick to check your oil levels — without enough oil you’re likely to break down and it can cost a lot to repair the parts
- Refill your screenwash — it’s essential for keeping your windscreen clear of dirt and dust while you’re driving. It’s also a good idea to check your windscreen wipers are in good condition, especially if you haven’t driven recently
- Check your air conditioning is working properly — they often have problems if they haven’t been used over the winter. While it’s not essential, if you’re on a long journey on a hot afternoon, air conditioning is going to make everyone more comfortable. Trust us, driving down the motorway with all four windows open is not fun.
These checks won’t take long, but they’ll save you plenty of time and stress in the long run.
Take a look at your tyres
Tyres are one of the most important things to check before you drive anywhere.
In general, you should be checking your tyres at least every couple of weeks, but if you’re planning a longer trip, it’s always worthwhile to check them again.
Take a look around your tyres to check for anything like bulges, cuts, or even something stuck in your tyre such as a nail. If you notice something wrong with your tyres, you need to take your car to a garage to get them inspected and repaired or replaced. Make sure to check your spare tyre as well.
You should also check the tread depth of your tyres. The easiest way to check is by looking for tread wear indicators on your tyres, but you can also use a tyre gauge to test the depth.
The deeper the tread the better your tyres can grip on the road, which is important when you’re driving in wet weather — so even if they’re over the legal minimum tyre tread depth it’s worth thinking about replacing them when they get under 3mm.
Finally, you need to check your tyre pressure as well. If your tyres are only slightly below the right pressure, it can affect your braking distance and cause excessive wear. Underinflated tyres can also cause them to blow out, which is particularly dangerous when you’re driving at high speeds.
Plan out your route
It’s always a good idea to take a look at your route before you leave for a road trip. While setting out with only a vague idea of where you’re going might seem more thrilling and adventurous, it’s not so fun when you’re lost in the middle of nowhere with no signal.
Take a look at the best way to get to your destination and consider things like road works or rush-hour traffic if you’re going to be travelling through a city. You might also want to choose some places to stop off and have a break if you’re going to be driving all day. And try to plan where you can fill up with fuel so that you can avoid paying the high prices at motorway service stations.
Check your breakdown cover
Even if your car is in perfect working order when you head out, there’s still a chance that something unexpected might happen and you break down halfway through your road trip.
Make sure that your breakdown cover is up to date before you leave, and keep a copy of your policy and the number you need to call easily accessible.
Put together an emergency kit
If you do find yourself stranded on the side of the road, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit while you wait for assistance. This could include things like:
- A first aid kit
- A torch
- A portable charger for your mobile
- Non-perishable food
- A bottle of water
- Blankets and a waterproof
- Jumpstart cables
- An empty fuel can
- A small tool kit
- Reflective warning signs
By making sure you have all these essentials with you, you’ll be safe and prepared if you do break down.
Taking a road trip is the perfect way to take a break and visit some amazing staycation destinations this summer. Just take a bit of time to look after your car and prepare for your journey so that you don’t have to worry about anything when you’re on the road