Typically most people travel the during Christmas, with an estimated 18 million people travel on UK roads between the 18th and 23rd December. But now that the festive period is over, the roads will hopefully be quieter and less congested, right?
Well the roads may be quieter, but the weather is typically worse in the New Year, from January to February. So, what can you do if you want to take on a new adventure in the New Year? Here is the best way for drivers to prepare for a road trip during these chilly months.
For any long trip, it is crucial that your car is in its best possible condition – but the addition of winter weather makes it particularly important that your vehicle is prepared for an extended period of time on the roads. Older engine oil containing engine debris can thicken in colder weather, potentially seizing your engine. As such, make sure to change your oil ahead of your trip. Checking your tyres is also key; drops in temperature can cause drops in tyre pressure, which can make driving at higher speeds dangerous. If your treads are also worn, your traction will be dangerously low in notoriously slippery conditions – so consider replacing your tyres for newer ones with a suitable tread.
Know Your Route
Driving ‘blind’ – that is, without prior knowledge of your expected route or of the areas you’ll be travelling through – is a recipe for disaster in the festive period. Accident rates are higher, and weather conditions unpredictable, leading to possible diversions and delays. By researching your route in advance, you can save yourself the trouble of getting stuck half-way, or spending hours searching out a suitable alternative route. Your route should also avoid smaller country roads where possible, as they are less well-maintained than larger motorways and A roads – and some may not even be gritted to combat black ice.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Preparation is vital for lengthy road trips in the winter – and with the increased risks on the road, it pays to have contingencies. Keeping a winter emergency kit in the boot of your car can be a lifesaver for unexpected situations such as flat tyres, breakdowns or accidents. Your emergency kit should contain coats and blankets to keep you and passengers warm, de-icer for your windows and lamps and snow chains for your tyres, at the very least. You could also pack a camping heater and some food, on the off-chance you remain stranded for some time.
Plan for Delays
Lastly, although the festive season is over, roads can still get congested. As such, you would benefit from creating a trip itinerary with ample time for breaks and delays included. Make sure to set off early, plan for several pit stops on the way – whether in service stations or small villages en-route, and be prepared for traffic jams. Maybe even pack a travel board game or two to keep your passengers entertained!