Hastings Direct news: long distance driving tips
The Bank Holiday weekend is the first true sign that spring has sprung and summer isn't too far away.
While some use this long weekend to give their house a spring clean or take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle, many people use it as an excuse to jump in the car and head off for a Bank Holiday adventure!
The AA Easter Bank Holiday Destination Survey 2015 found that visiting friends or family was the most common reason for people heading out over the long weekend, cited by 48% of respondents. Other reasons included visiting a town or city and heading to the countryside with 24% and 23%, respectively.
So, whether you're visiting grandparents, going on a short UK break or heading off on a fun-filled road trip, follow our top tips to make sure you and your car are prepared for the journey ahead.
Plan your journey
Planning your route is hugely beneficial. There are numerous websites that offer route planners for the UK and Europe to help you avoid things like busy towns in rush hour, road works, road closures and more. They can also alert you to any accidents that have happened along your route.
Prepare the car
Many breakdowns and accidents can be avoided by carrying out a few basic car maintenance checks before you set off. Oil, water and fuel are the most important, along with tyre pressure and tread. The legal minimum tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm, the majority of motoring organisations recommend a maintained tread depth of at least 3mm. Don't forget lights, windscreen washer fluid and wiper blades, too.
If you can, packing the car the night before will not only save you time before you set off but it will also help to ensure the lowest possible levels of stress before jumping behind the wheel. When packing your car, don't forget about ease of access to the spare wheel, just in case one of your tyres should go. If you're planning a long journey, also think about taking snacks, water, entertainment, medication and an emergency kit.
Ensure you're fit to drive
Don't attempt to get behind the wheel unless you're fully awake and alert. Try to get a full 8-9 hours of sleep the night before and don't set off if you've just eaten a heavy meal as this can make you sleepy. There is also an increased risk when driving at times you would normally be asleep, particularly early in the morning.
Take a break
If you're feeling tired, pull over when it's safe to do so, and take a break. Don't stop on the hard shoulder of the motorway — this is for emergencies only! The official advice from the AA is that motorists shouldn't drive for more than 8 hours in a day and should take breaks of at least 15 minutes at least every two hours.
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