With Christmas fast approaching and over 37.5 million cars on the roads, it's a manic time of year on the roads. Wherever you're travelling to this festive season, here are the BIG driving dos and don'ts that you need to know.
Traffic, bad weather and irritated passengers – that's driving at Christmas in a nutshell. There are bound to be a few hiccups along the way, but here's how to keep your winter driving frustration to an absolute minimum.
Christmas Driving Do's
Do Plan Your Journey
To keep you and your passengers well out of any traffic jams, be sure to check prior to your journey whether there are any scheduled roadworks along the route that you'll be taking. Take some time to investigate your route before you leave, to save yourself running into any unexpected traffic.
Check apps such as Google Maps regularly for live, on-the-go information that will immediately tell you the best routes. The busiest Christmas routes are usually the M1 in Northamptonshire & Bedfordshire as well as the Western and Northern sections of the M25.
Leading up to Christmas traffic volumes tend to creep up which will inevitably add time to your journey
The busiest day is usually the last working day before Christmas, which for many this year falls on Friday December 24th. If you're making a long journey Friday evening on major roads, remember to check your route and give yourself plenty of time.
Do Check Your Car & Be Prepared
Make sure you've done all the necessary car checks before you hit the road, such as tyre pressure and washer fluid. Prepare for every eventuality…who knows where you could break down! It's a good idea to ensure you've packed the following items in your car before heading off to visit family and friends:
Mobile phone charger
First aid kit
Do Stay Courteous
After all, you don't want to end up on Santa's naughty list. And, it's the season of good cheer, so spread a little festive joy by giving way when it's safe to do so and keeping plenty of distance between you and the car in front. Even if the road seems quiet on Christmas eve or Christmas day, remember to keep that spirit alive while you drive.
Do Pick Playlists Keep Passengers Entertained
Whatever age group you'll be travelling with, whether it's with little kids or with your friends, get a playlist of everyone's favourite music together to keep complaints to a minimum. Be sure to put a few Christmas bangers in there too! Checkout the Spotify playlist below for some inspiration.
Christmas Driving Don'ts
Don't Leave Presents On Display
Although it might be tempting to leave your Christmas presents in the car, to save yourself the hassle of loading them into the car the next morning, you run the risk of attracting thieves. Leaving wrapped gifts in the back seats or boot of your car is a disaster waiting to happen.
Our advice? Keep them safely inside your house until you absolutely have to put them in your car!
Don't Drive When You're Tired
Did you know that around 20% of road accidents are caused by driver tiredness? And, with Christmas festivities well and truly underway, there are going to be times that you wake up feeling too tired or hungover to drive…but you still want to make the journey anyway. If in doubt, get someone else to drive (providing they're insured on your car), or just wait until you feel properly ready to embark upon your journey!
There's nothing worse than setting off on a long drive when you're not up to it – it's not only dangerous for you, but for other drivers too.
Don't Drive In Poor Road Conditions
Some journeys in the festive period feel like they're unavoidable, but if visibility is poor or roads are slippery it might be worth reconsidering your trip.
Check the weather forecasts a few hours before you leave for any ominous signs. Also consider whether conditions are already looking treacherous before you set off. Remember, if you think conditions might be poor, don't take the risk! Only make essential journeys.
Don't Drive On Low Fuel
You never know when your trip could take longer than expected due to road closures or bad weather conditions. To prevent breaking down in the middle of nowhere, be sure to keep your tank topped up (at least half full) at all given opportunities along the way.
Before you set off, be sure to check your list (and check it twice), of driving do's and don'ts, to ensure a safe and happy Christmas journey! Wish there was a shiny new car under the tree this year? Take a look at our latest car leasing deals.