Allowing extra time for travel, filling the car with toys and games, and taking a 15 minute break every two hours are among parent’s tips for a stress-free drive this Christmas.
A study of 2,000 mums and dads revealed the top 20 tips for a worry-free journey to see friends and family.
Having a fully charged mobile phone came second in the list, above filling up the car the night before a big drive.
Checking traffic conditions before setting off is a must for those who are feeling apprehensive about their trip on the open road.
And a well-stocked picnic bag for the journey will also keep anxiety at bay.
Equally essential – compiling a good Christmas playlist for the whole family to sing along to. Women were far more likely to compile the ultimate Christmas playlist in advance with 21% agreeing compared to just 12% of men.
David Carter from Accident Advice Helpline, which commissioned the research, said: “We’re happy to see that leaving extra time for your journey was voted the number one tip for a stress-free car journey, it’s great advice. Some basic preparation for the journey ahead is the best a way for parents to minimize stress on the roads during the festive season”.
“Alongside the 20 tips for a stress-free drive it’s vital to ensure your car is fit for the road. So make sure your tyres are in good condition and are properly inflated, and your oil, coolant and screen wash are at the right levels.”
Failing to plan is planning to fail for 18 per cent of Brits, as drivers agree taking emergency equipment such as flashlights or spare tyres is essential in maintaining a zen-like state.
The study found others who are super prepared will have their car serviced in the weeks leading up to the drive, as well as fluid levels checked and tires balanced.
Despite packing the car the night before and carrying lose change for tolls appearing in the top 20, it’s not just about planning when it comes to lightening the load of Christmas journey stress.
One sixth of motorists said a forgiving attitude towards others’ driving faults will keep things calm in the car.
And getting into a positive mind-set for the trip also appeared in the list of things which will free travellers from worry. This stress busting tip was more likely to be used by those between the ages of 45 and 54 where 18% of parents agreed compared to just 10% of those between 25 and 34.
Supplies of blankets and pillows will help keep the family quiet for minimal driving disruptions.
And if the kids aren’t ready to nap, stocking the car with toys and games will assist in leaving worry at home.
A DVD player accompanied by countless films is also among the list of quality advice for a stress-free journey.
The research, conducted by Accident Advice Helpline, revealed just 15 per cent recommended getting your car serviced in advance to pre-empt any faults. Having the car serviced and checked ahead of the festive season was more likely to be done by those in East Anglia (26%) and Northern Ireland (22)% where as just 9% of those in the West Midlands got their car looked at.
Motorists agreed charging and programming your Sat Nav before the drive is important but this heavy reliance on GPS could be the cause of other problems as just one in 10 will plan their own alternative route in case the main route becomes impassable.
Nearly half admit it is their fault when something goes wrong during the Christmas car journey so it’s no wonder over one quarter dislike festive road trips.
Just under two thirds will make an effort to be super organised to help make their life more tolerable when traveling during the festive season.
David Carter added: “Being stressed during a drive can impact your attentiveness and driving style which ultimately might result in a road accident. We deal with the aftermath of accidents and know how life-changing it can be for victims and their loved ones. During the winter months it’s even more important to stay alert and focused on the road, as adverse weather conditions inevitably make driving more challenging”.
The top 20 tips for stress-free Christmas travel:
- Always leave extra time for your journey.
- Check traffic conditions before you set off.
- Make sandwiches, snacks and drinks for the journey.
- Make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone.
- Fill the car up the day/night before.
- Clear your windows and mirrors completely of snow and ice before you set off.
- Give the family a chance to relax with a 15 minute break every two hours for longer trips.
- Compile the ultimate Christmas playlist beforehand to keep attention on the road.
- Take games and toys to entertain the kids.
- Take emergency equipment (like extra water, flashlights, road flares, a car jack and spare tire) for peace of mind.
- Take blankets and pillows with you to allow passengers to sleep on the journey.
- Maintain the season of goodwill with forgiveness for driving errors.
- Pack the car the night before.
- Carry loose change for tolls or charged parking.
- Play a Christmas theme game with the family.
- Have your car serviced in the weeks leading up to your drive, with fluid levels checked and tires balanced.
- Take a portable DVD player – with countless DVDs.
- Join a roadside rescue service.
- Get into the right mind-set before you leave. Be positive that the journey will be stress free.
- Charge your sat nav and program it before the drive.