There’s no denying that long car journeys can be incredibly stressful – traffic jams, breakdowns or simply feeling tired can all compromise your safety, and if you are travelling with children or animals, it could be even more stressful. There are a few things you can do to ensure you and your passengers stay safe on a long journey.
Stay safe on the road
Make sure you plan your route – avoid big cities or towns at rush hours and use online road planners or your sat nav to choose your route in advance, making sure you avoid roadworks. Plan breaks of at least 15 minutes every 2 hours, not just for the driver but for passengers too. You’ll need to stretch your legs, have something to eat or drink and use the toilet. You should also make sure that you set off in plenty of time so that you’re not rushing and under stress.
Most road traffic accidents happen in the first 2 hours of a journey, so leaving yourself extra time means you’ll be less stressed and more focused on driving safely. If you feel tired at any point during your journey, you should stop as soon as you can for coffee or drinks containing caffeine – or even a 15 minute power nap in the car!
It’s important that you prepare your car for a long trip, so make sure your insurance and MOT is up to date. It’s often a good idea to have your spouse or partner added to the insurance, if they aren’t already covered, so that they can share the driving with you. You can check your car yourself or take it in for a check-up at your local garage. The things you should look at are:
- Tyre pressure – if this is wrong, braking and steering are affected. Under-inflated tyres will wear more quickly, and remember that your required tyre pressure could vary from normal if you have extra passengers or heavy luggage. Also make sure you have a jack and spare wheel.
- Tyre tread – the minimum depth required by law is 1.6mm, although 3mm is recommended. Worn tyres can affect a car’s handling, putting you at risk of aquaplaning in wet conditions and increasing stopping distance
- Lights and windscreen – top up your windscreen washer and make sure your wipers are working properly
- Engine – Check your oil levels and coolant/anti-freeze levels and top up if necessary
It’s important to check all of these things thoroughly before setting off.
Accident Advice Helpline
If you are involved in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to claim for compensation, so ring Accident Advice Helpline on our 24/7 freephone number.
We offer confidential, no-obligation advice and a 100% no win, no fee service that will ensure you claim back what is rightfully yours.
With over 13 years’ experience as personal injury compensation specialists, you can be sure we will handle your claim professionally.
Date Published: November 21, 2013
Author: David Brown