Published on Tuesday 15 December 2020 in Car news
Christmas is fast approaching & it's a manic time of year to be driving. No matter where you're travelling to this festive season (& providing the journey is essential during the Covid-19 pandemic), here are the top winter driving tips that you need to know.
Traffic, bad weather, cranky passengers, beeping horns – that's driving at Christmas in a nutshell. While there are bound to be a few hiccups along the way, here's a few ways to keep your winter driving frustrations to an absolute minimum.
Christmas Driving Dos
Do Plan Your Journey
Sounds simple, right? To keep you & your passengers out of any traffic jams, be sure to check - BEFORE you set off - whether there are any roadworks along the route that you'll be taking. Also, take the time to investigate your route before you leave to prevent running into any unexpected traffic.
Check apps such as Google Maps or Apple Maps regularly for live updates & let their auto route planning functions tell you the best & quickest routes. Statistically, the busiest Christmas routes are usually the M1 in Northamptonshire & Bedfordshire, the M6 around Birmingham & the Western/Northern sections of the M25 - but don't fall into the trap of thinking it won't be busy elsewhere.
Leading up to Christmas, the volume of traffic tends to creep up, which adds time to your journey. The busiest day is usually the last working day before Christmas, which for many this year falls on the 23rd or 24th December. So, if you're making a long journey on either of those days, check your route & give yourself plenty of time.
Do Check Your Car & Be Prepared
Carry out all the necessary pre-journey car checks before you get on the road - including tyre pressure & washer fluid checks. If possible, try to prepare for every eventuality - we hate being pessimists, but who knows if or where you could break down?! With that in mind, it's a good idea to ensure you've packed some or all of the following items in your car before you set off:
Mobile phone charger
First aid kit
Do Be Courteous
No one wants to end up on Santa's naughty list & it's the season of good cheer, so spread a little festive joy by giving way (when it's safe to do so) & keep plenty of distance between you & the car in front. Even when the road seems quiet on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day - keep the festive spirit alive while you drive.
Do Pick Playlists To Keep Your Passengers Entertained
Whether you're travelling with little kids, your friends or family members, sort out a playlist of everyone's favourite driving music. 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
You might feel tempted to leave Christmas presents in the car overnight before you set off, but doing this will 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 is to keep your presents safely inside your house until you have to put them in your car & no earlier. They're just too tempting!
Don't Drive When You're Tired
Around 20% of road accidents are caused by driver tiredness, & with Christmas festivities well & truly underway, there will be times you wake up feeling too tired or hungover to drive, but still want to make a journey anyway. If in doubt, get someone else to drive (so long as they're insured to drive your car), or wait until you feel ready to embark safely 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 the roads are slippery with water & ice it might be worth reconsidering or rescheduling your trip.
Check the weather forecasts a few hours before you leave & consider whether conditions are already looking treacherous before you set off. Remember, if you think conditions might be poor, don't take the risk! The Government is also recommending that all of us only make essential journeys during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Don't Drive On Low Fuel
You never know when or if your trip could take longer than expected due to road closures or bad weather conditions. So, to prevent running out of fuel 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 (twice) of driving dos & don'ts to ensure a safe & happy Christmas journey (so long as it's essential)! Finally, if you wish there was a shiny new car under the tree this year, take a look at our latest car leasing offers.