Travel guide: things to check before your next road trip
In recent years the summer holiday abroad has lost its appeal and many of us Brits are opting to stay in the country, indulging in all the United Kingdom has to offer. Going away often results in spending a week turning our noses up at the cuisine and designating hours hunting for the British pubs. Therefore, although it may be somewhat of an overused cliché, there’s no place like home.
If you’re going to drive the length and breadth of Britain on your aptly named staycation, you’re going to want to ensure the journey is as comfortable and as stress free as humanly possible. With that in mind, we are here to help you ensure you’ve considered all the essential checks before hitting the road this summer.
We all know the dangers caused by driving on a flat but having your tyre explode at 70mph won’t be the only risk you’re running. Automotive testing has found that an underinflated tyre can increase your fuel consumption by around five percent. So not only will your fuel bill be much heftier that it should be, you’re also doing more damage to the environment.
Getting a blow out is a driver’s worst nightmare. Not only does it put you at a serious risk of crashing and causing detrimental harm to other road users, it’s a nightmare to get fixed and is likely to damage the rim. Handling levels are massively affected by tyres that are underinflated as well, with stopping distances increased and steering taking a similar knock. A car tyre pump is easily stored in the boot, taking up limited space and will seem like a priceless purchase when you’re stood on the hard shoulder.
It may seem like a given but checking what comes as standard with your car is a must. Marketed as a space saver, most car manufactures in recent years have opted out of providing consumers with a full-size spare wheel, and in its place, you will find tyre sealant foam. Be comfortable that you know how to use it before heading off into the abyss, and if it’s a spare wheel, learn how to use a jack.
You wouldn’t set off on the road trip without ensuring you had yourself well fed, so why do it to the car? An engine check takes a few minutes but could save hundreds of pounds. Grab a bit of kitchen roll, pull out your engines dip stick, wipe away the oil and re-dip it to check your levels. If you’re running low, top it up. Most of us will ever only venture under the bonnet as soon as something goes wrong e.g. a Vesuvius-like cloud bellowing from the engine. Despite an exact timescale of how often you should check your oil not existing, experts suggest if you’re a regular driver you should check it at least once per month. Let your oil run too low or use the wrong one and you could be looking at serious damage to your car’s components.
Keep it clean
If you’re going to be visiting some of the countries most idyllic locations, it’s fairly unlikely that you’re going to be spending the entirety of you’re trip on the motorway. Therefore, ensure you have your washer bottles topped up. Country roads that lead to some of the nicest camp sites are also used on a daily basis by tractors and other farm machinery, which are likely to spray muck over the roads. Following Google maps can be tricky enough, never mind having to do so with darkened out, dirt covered windows.
The creature comforts
Now you’ve considered the checks to ensure the car is running without any hitches, its time to think about yourself and guaranteeing the journey is as enjoyable as possible. Due to the fact the radio can become ridiculously repetitive, it may be worth considering setting yourself up with a lengthy playlist to help you on the road. If you fancy a few laughs along the way, a nice addition to Spotify as of late is the Best of British Comedy playlist, which includes a range of excerpts from stand up shows and BBC series Mock the Week.
As overpriced sandwiches tend to be the only thing on offer at most motorway services, planning a picnic and packing a few snacks may be worth the initial time spent, simply to keep the kids happy and limit the amount of times you hear the timeless phrase, ‘are we there yet?’
As the staycation has proved its popularity in the past number of years, and a lot more people are choosing the good honest British view as opposed to the Spanish sun, fill the tank and buckle up. Remember this quick guide and it’ll take some of the stress out of the journey as well.