There may still be plenty of summer left for us to enjoy wherever in the world we may be, but for some, taking that next step in life of leaving the family home for university or a new job is just around the corner. Whether you’re a parent helping someone move out, or you’re a student making your own way out into the world, it is always important to be safe when travelling and know what you’re coming up against on a long journey.
Arguably the first and definitely the most important step is to plan your journey. This may sound obvious but a little knowledge goes a long way and could be the difference in making it a smooth sailing affair. Things like taking into account busy times of the day when going through certain cities or towns, and checking for any obstructions and traffic hotspots beforehand will go a long way. The AA and RAC websites offer route planners so checking them before setting off will be really useful.
Also up there with the most important things to consider, is whether your vehicle is ready for the long distance haul of potentially being jam packed with furniture, electricals and other heavy items. Breakdowns and accidents are often attributed to a lack of vehicle maintenance, so checking your tyre tread, tyre pressure, engine, windscreen and lights are vital to ensure safety. The recommended tread depth is 3mm, poor tread will increase the chances of aquaplaning, effect your handling and make your stopping distance much longer. If your tyres are underinflated then they will wear quicker and cause problems like the ones mentioned. It is also important to remember that if you are travelling with a lot of luggage, then the tyre pressure will be different to accommodate that. Always check the water and oil levels to avoid overheating the engine, as this is more likely to happen during long distance journeys. Also ensure the windscreen washer reservoir is full and wiper blades are not damaged or worn. Lights must be clean and fully functional in accordance with the law.
Driving on the motorway is almost an inevitability when it comes to long distance trips. It must be remembered that using the hard shoulder is an emergency-only area. If your vehicle is drivable, try and get it to the next service station where assistance will be easier and far safer. If you do have to stop however, remember these vital tips:
• Stop as near to the kerb as possible with your tyres turned inwards, just in case of passing traffic.
• Turn on you hazard warning lights.
• Exit your vehicle and wait on the embankment of the motorway well away from the traffic.
• Do not be tempted to make a repair even if it seems simple, always wait for road side assistance.
• The police advise that you use a road side telephone if you are on the hard shoulder as it directs you straight to them. If you have to use your telephone then use a marker post reference number to let them know your whereabouts easily.
If you have broken down on the side of the road that isn’t a motorway, carry out these procedures as accurately as you can, but we, as well as the government, recommend that you put a warning triangle at least 45 meters before your vehicle so that oncoming traffic are aware of the situation ahead. To maximize safety, use a BriteAngle LED warning triangle to so that you don’t have to rely on headlights to be seen. Take all these things into consideration and while your long journey may not be enjoyable if you’re saying goodbye to loved ones, but you will be safe all the way to your destination.
For more information on how we can help you visit our website at www.briteangle.co.uk, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.