Motoring News

Driving Home for Christmas?

A woman driving red car with pine tree on the trunk
Avatar photo
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

As offices and schools begin to close for the festive season, many motorists will be preparing to make the journey to visit friends and family for Christmas.

Whether it’s a short trip or a long distance drive, making essential vehicle checks and preparations before departing can save you a great deal of stress, time and money if something goes wrong.

So, here are some top tips for safe festive driving.

Carry out regular vehicle checks

You should always be conducting regular checks on your vehicle anyway, particularly before a long distance drive. A common mistake is simply to wait for the next MOT or service, but this can often lead to unexpected breakdowns, which is the last thing you want on the way home for Christmas! Before setting off, the most important checks to make include your tyre pressure, tread and tread depth, screenwash levels, engine oil levels and coolant levels.

Stock up on emergency supplies

If you do break down on a long drive, having an emergency kit prepared can make a massive difference, not only for your comfort, but also for your safety. Before leaving your house, be sure to stock your car with emergency food and water, as well as high-visibility jackets, spare clothes and blankets, torches and anything else you feel you might need if you’re stuck waiting for help on the side of the road. You should also take car supplies like screenwash, engine oil, a spare tyre and de-icer with you on the journey. If you expect there to be snow, consider packing a shovel in the boot, too. Being able to shift some snow could really help if your tyres are struggling in the frosty conditions.

Stay away from your car while under the influence of alcohol

This might seem like a no-brainer for many, but it’s so important to stay well away from your vehicle if you’re under the influence of alcohol. Getting in your car after a few drinks at the Christmas party puts yourself and everyone around you in danger and will lead to criminal charges if you were caught by the police. Additionally, some people might think it’s okay to sleep, or even sit in their vehicle while under the influence, but even this is illegal and could lead to a criminal charge. So, leave your car keys at home if you’re planning on drinking to celebrate the festive season.

Prepare for cold weather

As we’ve already seen, temperatures in the UK have become significantly colder, which can lead to ice and snow on the road. Make sure to check the tread on your tyres before departing on your journey, and stock up on de-icer and an ice scraper to make sure you can sufficiently remove ice from your car.

Give yourself time

It’s important to give yourself lots of time to drive home for Christmas, as it could take longer than during other times of year. Many others will be travelling to visit their loved ones as well, leading to heavier traffic than usual on the roads, and cold weather conditions can also lead to a slower journey. What’s more, allowing yourself sufficient time means you can take plenty of breaks, which is essential for longer journeys. Christmas traffic will start to pick up from Friday 23rd December, so if you can, start your trip before then.

Hide valuables and presents

If you’re on your way to visit friends and family, chances are your vehicle is filled with thoughtful gifts, as well as your own valuables. In order to ensure that they stay safe, keep them out of sight of passers-by, by storing them in the boot or under a cover on the back seats. Additionally, make sure that you remove your valuables from the vehicle if you’re stopping overnight, and instead keep them with you indoors.

Leave a Comment