Around 17% of British holidaymakers are planning a “staycation” this year. If you’re one of them and you’re travelling by car, then it’s always a good idea to plan ahead with our summer holiday road safety tips…
Before you go…
One of the best ways to prepare for your road trip is to preview some of the journey ahead of time. Use Google Map Street View to take a look at things such as junctions and roundabouts that you’ve never used before. This can help you familiarise yourself with your surroundings so you spend less time worrying about which lane to be, reducing your risk of a road traffic collision.
Did you know? Dehydrated drivers make the same amount of mistakes as drink-drivers. A study conducted at the University of Loughborough revealed that even mild dehydration¹ can cause drivers to lane drift, brake too late and even cross over the lane line into oncoming traffic. Make sure you drink plenty of water before you set off, as well as taking a few bottles of water with you for the trip.
Do all the necessary checks² on your vehicle including:
- Brake fluid
- Tyre tread
- Tyre pressure
- Coolant levels
- Screenwash bottle level
- Lights (brake lights, reverse lights, indicators, etc)
- Windscreen wipers
Even if none of your dashboard warning lights are on, it’s still worth checking everything as sometimes the lights can fail us!
Don’t forget to take your car jack and locking wheel nut key³. If you don’t and you happen to get a flat tyre on your journey then you (or the breakdown service) won’t be able to change. You’ll need to be towed to the nearest garage, delaying the start to your holiday even further!
During the journey…
It may seem obvious but stay within the speed limits at all times and slow down to 20mph outside heavily pedestrianised areas⁴. Remember to slow down when going around corners, especially on narrow country lanes that you don’t know very well. Unfortunately, even when it’s summer time, Britain is prone to temperamental weather so you should also slow down in bad weather – nobody wants to aquaplane on the way to their holidays!
Sometimes we may be lucky with some sunny weather, so make sure the glare from the sun doesn’t obstruct your driving. Keep a pair of sunglasses handy or attach a sun visor extender to your existing visor – you can find these for a very affordable price online!
Avoid wearing inappropriate footwear such as flip-flops – as there isn’t enough grip for your feet on the pedals or your flip-flop could become stuck under the pedals. Maybe you’re thinking of driving barefoot to keep cool – we don’t recommend this as it’s harder to brake properly. Take a look at our “Is it illegal to drive barefoot?” blog for tips on the best footwear for driving.
Using a mobile phone either directly or hands-free is a recipe for disaster. Your reaction times are 50% slower if you use a mobile phone hands-free…and even 30% slower⁵ than if you had 80mg of alcohol in your blood (the current legal limit). If you need to use your phone as a sat nav then make sure all ping notifications for apps are turned off so you’re not distracted. If someone calls you while you’re driving, ask your passenger to pick it up.
All in all, remember to take regular breaks from driving. If you feel tired then there’s no harm in having a quick nap in the car at a service station. Remember to eat too – food helps fuel your brain, which helps you drive better and stay more alert.
When you’re there…
Remember to relax and enjoy your holiday!
1. Loughborough University
2. Kwik Fit
3. Your Mechanic
4. They Work For You