Long car journeys are rarely something to be looked forward to, but they are sometimes necessary – and they can be more dangerous than you expect when it comes to staying safe on the road.
Fatigue is one of the biggest dangers regarding long-distance driving. Getting a bit sleepy may not seem like a serious threat to your health, but most drivers will agree it's an extremely nerve-wracking experience when you're tired and trying not to fall asleep behind the wheel.
For this reason, rest stops are essential on this type of journey. It is safest to take a look at your route and plot which rest stops you are going to pull over at, rather than just winging it.
Car maintenance can also trip you up when it comes to being on the road for more than a few hours. Your motor might be reliable during the school run or your daily commute, but can it really handle a trip across the country?
So what can you do to help make sure you stay safe on long drives? There are several quick and easy safety checks you can perform to minimise the chances of your car breaking down, suffering a flat tyre or worse during your long journey:
- Check your fluid levels Make sure your oil, water and brake fluid levels are all topped up.
- Don't forget about your tyres Given that they're the only part of your car that comes into contact with the road, it would be a major oversight not to ensure that they're safe. Check your tyre pressures – the correct figures can be found in your owner's manual – and measure their tread depth (it should be at least 1.6 mm across 75 per cent of the tyre).
- Fill up with fuel Obviously you're going to need plenty of fuel for your long journey. It makes sense to fill the tank before you set off – that way, you get to avoid the wallet-busting experience of refuelling at a motorway service station.
- Get a free vehicle health check This is the best way to ensure your car is in good nick before setting off on a long journey, and will significantly reduce the chance of breaking down and facing the prospect of hours on the hard shoulder.
Posted by Danielle Barge