There is nothing quite like the excitement and freedom which comes with the open road. There are plenty of considerations which need to be taken into account before setting out on a road trip, and in this blog, we provide you with some helpful tips:
1. Make sure your car (and its passengers!) are ready
You will be relying on your car to get you from A to B on a daily basis during a driving trip – and it is likely that you won’t have travelled many of the routes before, if at all. For this reason, it is vital that you ensure the vehicle is in the best possible condition before setting out. If you are using your own car and setting off from home – is it really in good enough condition to handle the distances, which you will tackle over the course of the trip? Whether you have doubts or not, it is a good idea to get the vehicle serviced. And if you are hiring, unless it is from a verified car rental firm, ensure the vehicle is in adequate health.
2. Safety first
Aside from the car itself, there are plenty of safety considerations you should be taking when on the road in an unfamiliar place. Avoid areas which are noted for high levels of criminal activity, stick to highways and main roads. Always make sure your car is locked when parked, and don’t leave any valuables inside in clear view of passers-by.
3. Legal requirements
Do you know the law of the land? It is important you know the legal requirements attached to driving in your destination of choice. For example, (as of June 2017) in France, clean air stickers and high visibility vests can be required, while in Spain, warning triangles and a vehicle log book are needed. Bottom line, wherever you are going please make sure you do your research!
4. Rules and regulations
It is also important to understand the rules of the road. For those heading to Europe, it is worth noting that while a seat belt is compulsory for the drivers and all passengers in Germany and France, in Spain only the driver is required to buckle up. There are also different rules to understand for overtaking, and giving priority on the road, so be sure to know what is legal and what isn’t. Read more from the AA about the requirements for driving in Europe.
5. Travel essentials
There are a number of apps which allow you to view maps on your smartphone, either in an online or offline mode. While these can be useful, what if you do not have a sufficient 3G or WiFi connection, or run out of battery? It always makes sense to carry a physical map which covers the areas you are travelling. And don’t forget a USB charging cable!
If you are driving overseas, it is absolutely essential that whoever plans to drive the car is fully insured. If you are hiring from a car rental firm, this can be arranged as part of your package. If you are using your own car, you will need to arrange the necessary cover from your insurance company. If you plan to hire from an independent individual while overseas, it is your responsibility to arrange the necessary insurance.
You should always carry a driving license while on an overseas road trip. In many countries, your UK license covers you for driving overseas for the length of a typical holiday. However, this is something you should make absolutely sure of before setting off.
The responsible overseas driver ensures they have all the basics for the maintenance of their vehicle, and themselves, before they begin. A spare tyre can be an essential part to take with you. Should you pick up a flat tyre, you will want to find the nearest mechanic, and having a spare tyre ready to go can save you a lot of time and money during this process. Similarly, a first aid kit can be a potentially lifesaving piece of equipment – ensure you keep one in the boot and that either you or a member of your party has been trained in how to use it.
For a pre-holiday service on your vehicle book now with your local Brake & Service World.