The sun is shining brightly now (maybe!) and you’re feeling good; the family are impatient and keen to get underway; but is your vehicle up to the challenge and more importantly are you as the driver?
Make sure you check over your vehicle to ensure it is fully roadworthy, and ready to carry a heavier load than normal (in most instances), and possibly at higher speeds over a longer distance than normal too. If in doubt get a professional to do the checks, which should of course include checking the tyre pressures, making sure all lights are working and the fluid levels are all OK.
Know the route you wish to take before setting out, and programme the Sat-Nav accordingly, and have a traditional map as a back-up and sanity check. Load you vehicle so passengers are not at risk from unrestrained luggage in the event of a sudden stop or accident; likewise make sure any load on the roof or in a trailer is secure.
Don’t drive for more than two hours without a break, as your concentration level will be seriously compromised, and your passengers will need a stretch too. Stop for at least fifteen minutes, get out of your vehicle and have a stroll and a drink (none alcoholic of course!). Children generally need something to occupy them, and they will tell you as soon as they are bored anyway!
Remember that you won’t be alone going on holiday and not everyone will set off properly prepared, having checked the vehicle and their own fitness to drive. Often families set out after a days’ work to try and beat the jams, meaning the driver is already tired and the preparation has been rushed.
Be especially aware of drivers who display erratic behaviour, have a vehicle which is badly loaded or looks uncared for. Leave extra space and expect the unexpected!
If you are unlucky enough to suffer a breakdown on your journey, be sure to protect yourself and passengers before calling your breakdown service provider. Remember the hard shoulder of a motorway is a dangerous place to stop, so get as far away from the running lanes as possible and seek refuge behind the crash barriers whilst waiting for assistance.
As with so many things, good preparation saves trouble later, leaving you to enjoy your holiday. So take the opportunity to take things at a slower pace, reduce your stress levels and save fuel too. Passengers will appreciate a nice smooth drive, and they will see more of what they came to see!
If you would like information on the requirements for a specific country visit the AA website.
Don’t set yourself impossible missions; after all you are presumably on holiday to take a break and have a rest from the daily grind. So whatever else you do, have some fun.
If you would like a copy of the BVRLA holiday guidelines please call us.