Driving home for Christmas do’s and don’ts
For a large portion of the UK population, driving at Christmas is a bit of a tradition. Whether you’re returning to your childhood abode, visiting awkwardly located relatives or driving to a specially-rented-out-for-Christmas house, there will inevitably be a bit of driving involved. Here is how to make that annual festive ride go as smoothly as possible.
It’s winter. In the UK. That means rain is a high probability, cold is unavoidable and snow, although unlikely, is a possibility. So dig out your long johns and dress for warmth. We’re talking thick socks, fleecy layers and a decent coat that can double as a blanket.
Plan your journey
Before you set off sit down and work out which route you’ll take. Use an old fashioned map, or simplify things with something like Google Maps. Once satisfied, set up your sat nav and print off back-up written directions. On the day make sure to check traffic and weather reports to ensure your chosen route is still viable.
Play Christmas songs
So the M25 has ground to a halt and your dodgy heating has kicked the bucket. But it’s impossible to be sad when ‘Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer’ is blaring. So, before you leave, dust off your favourite Christmas CD and make sure you put it in the car. Alternatively, pick and choose your own playlist on Spotify or iTunes for customised Christmas cheer.
A truly prepared driver will already have stocked up for winter, but if like the rest of us you’ve been too busy last minute shopping and eating mince pies, now is your chance to stock your car. Top up with all the sensible winter options such as anti-freeze, a de-icer and scraper and a spare tyre. It might seem over the top at the time, but it could save your journey.
Forget common sense
There are a few basic winter driving principles that you should stick to. These include:
- Clean and clear your windscreen for the best vision possible. Remember to top up your windscreen washing solution before you go. And if faced with condensation, use air conditioning for the quickest route to a mist free interior.
- In bad weather drive slower and gently; stopping distances are 10 times longer in snow and ice, so leave plenty of room between you and the car in front.
- Check all your lights are working, and clean them and your number plate so you are as visible as possible.
Obvious for the driver, but this goes for passengers too. Whilst it might be tempting to crack open a Christmassy beverage for the drive, resist. It’s unfair on the driver and best if everyone has their wits about them for this drive. Plus, just think how warming that first mulled wine will be when you finally arrive!
Forget the presents
Avoid Christmas morning disappointment by making sure you remember to pack the presents. “Turning around when possible” is not something you want to hear 150 miles into your journey to John o' Groats!
published: 23/12/2014 09:58:49