10 Tips for a Winter Road Trip

As we head into the winter half-term we know many people will be driving as they set off on adventures and holidays so we’ve rounded up our top 10 winter trip tips!

While these tips are designed to help drivers who are travelling on longer journeys they will still be useful for those who aren’t going away or travelling long distances.

10 Winter Trip Tips

1. Check Your Vehicle Before You Set Off

Before you go on any long journey you should check your car to make sure that it’s in the best possible condition and there aren’t any issues that are easy for you to spot and take care of before the trip.

There are 10 essential things you should check and these are:

  • A quick look for any obvious damage
  • The tyres: checking their condition, depth and pressure
  • Fluid levels: screen wash, oil, and coolant are the three key ones to check
  • Lights are working: check the headlights, rear lights, indicators, brake lights, fog light and reversing light
  • That the brakes are working correctly
  • The electronics: including electric windows, heating and power steering
  • There’s enough fuel for your trip
  • You’ve got an appropriate emergency kit
  • The car is clean and clear of clutter
  • Everyone is wearing their seatbelts

2. Fill Up Before You Set Off

If you’re going on a long journey or are away for a few days then we recommend making sure your car has a full tank. For cars with an internal combustion engine this means filling up at the pump and for those with a rechargeable EV battery then you’ll want to fully charge it rather than to the usual recommended 80-90% level.

If you’re making a trip that’s longer than your EV’s range then you’ll also want to make sure that you plan a charging stop at a location that is convenient for you as well as getting enough charge in the car to finish the journey.

3. Plan for Rest Stops 

Whether you are travelling with children or not whenever you’re doing a long trip you’ll want to make sure that plan to give yourselves regular breaks to allow yourself to stretch your legs, use the facilities, have some food and a drink or anything else you might need. Giving yourself regular breaks will help prevent you from getting tired or distracted while driving.

4. Deice and Demist Before You Leave

As we head into the colder weather you’ll find your car misting up and ice beginning to appear. This should be fully cleared before you pull away to give you the best visibility of the road and your surroundings.

While we’re not expecting any snow this week if you do have any snow on future winter travels then you will need to remove all of this from the vehicle before you set off, including from the roof as this can fall and become a hazard for you or other road users.

5. Allow Time for Traffic

With it being half-term for a lot of the country there’s going to be more people doing the same as you and taking trips with their children which means there’s going to be more cars on the road so you should allow extra time for travelling, especially if you’re heading to a busy area.

6. Make it Fun

There are plenty of games that you can play while travelling to keep the kids, and yourself, entertained while on the move.

Simple games like I-Spy are great for keeping the whole family entertained and don’t require special equipment. You might also want to pack colouring books, electronic games or something similar to keep your children entertained without distracting you.

7. Keep Warm

It can get cold in the car, especially if you’re setting off early in the morning so we recommend keeping something in the vehicle to keep you, and your passengers, warm while the heaters kick in. This can be each of you having a jumper in the car or a couple of blankets for your passengers to wrap around themselves.

8. Get a Bin

Or at least a bag that you can use to collect any rubbish that might accumulate during your trip, then you can simply remove this when you leave the vehicle. This can be especially handy if you’re eating on the go or someone has a winter cold and needs a lot of tissues.

9. Pack Everyone’s Personal Essentials

As well as an emergency kit you want to make sure everyone’s travel essentials are in the car to make it as smooth a trip as possible. The items will be unique to the individual so we recommend checking the day before you set off what they’ll need, eg sunglasses, motion sickness bands or any other items they need to make the trip comfortable.

10. Remove Your Valuables

Our final tip is to try and take your valuables out of the car as soon as possible when you reach your destination. If you’re not able to take them out of the car then you should make sure they’re out of sight, in the boot or under seats to avoid them attracting thieves.

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