If you're about to set off on a long drive, there are three important steps you can take that can take the strain out of road trip.
Your preparation can be split into three stages.
Step 1 is about planning your journey.If you're deciding what time to set off, it's vital to know your route and factor in the time of day you're travelling and any possible delays for roadworks. Will you be travelling through busy towns at peak times such as rush hour. The big motoring organisations can offer on-line route planners. These have the advantage of offering you the chance to avoid specific places, and can give up to date information about local traffic problems. Don't forget to budget for comfort stops on your journey. Very few people can drive 400 miles without a break for the loo or a drink. For safety reasons, you are advised to have a break every two hours to avoid tiredness or concentration loss. If you have young children on board, add in extra time for those unscheduled stops. Some people embarking on long car journeys choose to drive at night when their kids are asleep. As a general rule set off in plenty of time, and be expect the unexpected
Step 2 is all about preparing the car. Most breakdowns happen because of inadequate car maintenance. Check the car thoroughly, starting with the tyres. Make sure your tyre tread is at least 1.6mm- the legal minimum, although 3mm is the recommended amount. And don't forget to check of aquaplaning in wet weather. Check the tyre pressure, remembering to factor in the number of passengers and the amount of luggage. Consult your car handbook for the correct pressures. And while you're checking the pressure on the spare tyre, make sure you have a working car jack and wheel spanner just in case! Next look under the bonnet, and check all the levels - water and oil need to be fully topped up to avoid overheating in a breakdown. Test the windscreen wipers, and check the screenwasher reservoir is full. The law requires all your lights to be in full working order.
Step 3 - Packing the car - If you can pack the car the night before setting off, that can reduce the chance of last minute panics. You don't want to set off on a long journey with a frazzled mind. Load the car so that the luggage is evenly distributed, and don't leave lose items lying around that can fly about in the event of sudden breaking. Finally, make sure your spare wheel is accessible, as unpacking the entire boot to reach it is an unattractive proposition on a dark and rainy day.