Breakdown Cover

Tips for drivers at Christmas

Christmas is the time of year for visiting loved ones, which means a lot of people will be on the road over the festive period. It can be quite a stressful time trying to get all the family from A to B, so be sure to avoid any added problems by following this guide.

Car safety

Number one on your priority list when visiting friends and family over Christmas should be preparing your car for travelling long distances. Below are all the vital areas of your vehicle you should check before visiting loved ones.

Check your tyres – Pump your tyres up to your car’s required pressure, which will be shown in either your car’s manual, your driver or passenger side door frame or online. Remember to abide by your car’s recommended pressure for the largest load!

Check your windscreen wipers – In case you encounter some heavy rain, make sure you check that your wiper blades aren’t going to give out on you anytime soon.

Check your belts and hoses – This is a bit of a tricky one for your average individual who knows little to absolutely nothing whatsoever about cars. Your fan belts should not look frayed and your hoses should be free of cracks.

Clear your filters – Open your bonnet and clear any debris from your filters. If there is restricted airflow to your engine it could overheat!

Check your oil – Locate the dipstick on the top of the oil tank and pull it all the way out and wipe it clean with a cloth. Once you can read the letters on the stick (L for low and F for full), insert it back in and pull it back out. The line of oil should be closer to the F.

Check your battery – Clean your battery of any dirt and muck that might have built up around it over time and check all connections are secure. To be safe, it might be worth travelling with some jump leads in your boot.

Check the state of your lights – Your lights might be working now, but you might be unaware of the condition they’re in. Take your car to a garage to assess them before your spell of travelling starts, or buy some replacements to store in your car while learning how to properly install them yourself.

Carry a first aid kit – This especially goes for parents travelling with children. You don’t want screaming children in the back while you’re trying to concentrate on the road!

Allow for extra time

You’re not the only one driving home for Christmas, so you’re going to be joined by a lot of other cars on your journey. To avoid any unneeded stress, leave earlier to give yourself enough time to get to where you need to be. If you’re only visiting friends or relatives for the day, you don’t want to waste valuable time stuck in traffic!

Space out your trips

Christmas can be an extremely exhausting time of year, so growing tired is a given. Make sure you don’t overdo it behind the wheel, and space your journeys out so you’re not driving day after day. You’re most likely going to want a drink, too, so make sure you’re in a suitable state to drive – you don’t want to put your and your family’s lives at risk by overindulging in alcohol.

Prepare for the worst

Just in case disaster does strike, you want to be prepared for it. Make sure you have a high visibility jacket if you exit your vehicle on a road, and a fluorescent triangle to place on the road to warn other drivers of your situation, especially if you have to change a tyre.

Pack warm clothing too. If you do break down you’ll have to exit the car, so you want to ensure you have all-weather clothing for everyone.

Make sure your breakdown cover is still valid before you set off anywhere, ensuring you know exactly what phone number to call should your vehicle die on you!