Christmas is fast approaching and many of you will be driving home to be reunited with loved ones. For some the drive home may incur long hours, driving in the dark and in some cases, severe weather conditions. Here are some tips to ensure you get home safely this festive period.
Preparation is key! Before you start your journey, make sure your windows and mirrors are clear, that your lights are working properly, there’s sufficient air in your tyres and fuel in the tank. Remember, if it’s a frosty morning, don’t use boiling water on the glass as it can crack your windscreen.
A winter pack can come in handy if you become stuck in winter weather. Consider putting together the following in a pack to keep in the boot of your car:
- Ice scraper
- Screen wash
- Engine oil
- Spare tyre or emergency tyre inflator
- Jump leads
- A torch
Time your trip
No one likes being stuck in traffic, especially on a dark winters evening and particularly if you’re travelling with children. Try to plan your trip accordingly and leave at a time when heavy traffic jams are unlikely.
Bad road conditions
Weather conditions can lead to dangerous roads around Christmas. Snow and ice make for slippery surfaces, while fog and darkening skies can cause issues with visibility. Always check the forecast before you travel - if severe wintry weather is predicted, try delay your journey until the weather improves. If the conditions are already treacherous, only drive if you absolutely have to.
If you do have to drive in icy conditions, ensure you put extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Slow down and use your breaks gently. Drive in the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Always watch out for black ice, particularly in sheltered/shaded areas.
If you’re driving in a fog, make sure to use dipped headlights and switch on your rear and front fog lights (don’t forget to switch these off when the fog lifts). If you have to stop, activate your hazard warning lights.
Darkness hits early in winter so make sure your headlights are always on. It’s important that you can see and be seen by other road users.
Hide your presents
If you find your car is resembling Santa’s Sleigh as you make your drive home with gifts for the family, be aware that this could be a risk. Try to keep the presents hidden and out of view. If you stop at a service station the last thing you want to do is to entice people. You never know who might be watching vehicles with an opportunistic eye.
Once you get to your destination, make sure you unpack the presents as soon as you can instead of leaving them inside the vehicle.
Last but not least, make sure you have a Christmas playlist to listen to and enjoy your journey home. Check out our 50 Best Christmas Songs to Drive To playlist on Spotify here.