It’s the best time of year to head out on a road trip, with the sun shining and the school holidays coming up. As you head out on your long car journey, you and your passengers are probably all brimming with excitement, but remember that your safety whilst in the car should always come first.
Whether you’re new to driving or have been on the road for many years, embarking on a long car journey can be daunting. However, with the following tips and tricks, you can ensure your safety before you hit the road. Read ahead to find out how best to prepare your vehicle for a long journey.
Perform a check-up
Before you head out on your journey, make sure to schedule atime to do a basic check-up on your car, as this can make all the difference between a journey which goes by with ease, and one which is highly stressful. Check that the wipers are working properly, the fluid levels are correct and if necessary, change the oil and make sure it is up to the correct level. A vehicle which is well looked after and in good general shape will be one which has a better chance of staying reliable and efficient on a long car journey.
Check your battery
There’s nothing more disappointing than planning a road trip for weeks, gathering all your friends, family and possessions, then, the morning you are due to set off, the car won’t start. It’s also important that you don’t get stranded in your destination, unable to return home. To avoid this awful scenario, make sure to check your battery before you set off. Ensure that it is strong and has clean terminals. If it needs a once over, grab some baking soda and water to get any grime off.
Inspect your tyres
Check your tyres for any damage before embarking on your journey, for example, tears and bulges in the side wall. You will also need to check that they are at the correct pressure. To confirm the necessary pressure, you can look in the car handbook, or alternatively, you can check for the information on the inside of the door jamb. Then, head to your local petrol station to use the air pump. You will also need to check that the tread on each tyre is sufficient. The legal minimum tread depth for your tyres is 1.6mm. Also include the spare tyre in all your inspections, just in case you need to use it. Damaged tyres are dangerous for any journey let alone a long one, as this article explains.
Check the brakes
Another extremely important fixture in your car; the brakes. Take your car to the local garage to have your brake pads checked before setting out on your long car journey. They will need to be in good condition, for example not too worn down or in need of replacing.
When you are going to be driving a long distance, it is always a good idea to bring supplies just in case you get held up or have an emergency. Stock your car up with an emergency kit, including a first aid kit, a blanket, a torch and some tools. It is also highly advisable to bring extra bottles of water and some snacks. This way, you will be fully prepared in almost any unforeseen circumstances.
A heavy load being placed on your vehicle can put an unnecessary strain on it, and can also make the car more difficult to handle in emergency situations, increasing the risk of you turning the car over. For this reason, it is important to limit the load in your car as much as possible. This can be done by taking off the roof rack if possible, limiting the amount of luggage you are taking with you, and packing your items in lightweight packing solutions, such as cardboard boxes. Most vehicle handbooks state maximum loads which can be put in the car, so measure the load you are taking, including the weight of people, and check it before setting out.
Take a GPS
Even if you think you know where you are going, a portable satellite navigation system can help to guide the way and will take the pressure off you. It will also be able to guide you to the nearest petrol station or emergency services if anything should happen, as well as finding an alternative, quicker route to avoid any congestion.
Anna Barton is a problem solver. Coffee trailblazer. Passionate creator and an Automotive aficionado.