WE'RE NOW WELL into the school summer holidays, with all the extra weekend traffic that brings. Road safety organisation, GEM Motoring Assist, has compiled some summer driving tips for anyone driving or towing on holiday this August. Most of the advice is common sense, but it bears repeating.
"With lots of people staying in the UK for their summer break this year because of the Olympics, there will be scores of families taking long journeys on our busy roads," says David Williams MBE, GEM Motoring Assist's CEO. "The economic downturn has put serious pressure on British motorists, but we urge drivers not to ignore the importance of safety. Breaking down is a huge concern as more and more people spend less money on car maintenance, so we want this advice to help drivers avoid any unnecessary hazardous situations."
Here's GEM's advice:
General summertime tips:
- Always prepare your car before a long journey. Check tyres, brakes, windscreen wash, lights, oil and water levels prior to travelling.
- If towing a caravan, ensure you carry out suitable checks for its roadworthiness too.
- Keep an eye on your fuel levels, especially if driving in the countryside and you are unsure where the next filling station will be. Try to never let the gauge fall below one quarter.
- Make sure you have adequate car breakdown cover that will get you to your destination with minimal disruption in the unfortunate event of a breakdown – and make sure you have your emergency call-out number with you.
- Plan your journey so you know where you are going, taking a map or GPS system with you, plus telephone number for your destination in case you do get lost or break down.
- Allow extra time to get to your destination if travelling at peak times. Better still, try and avoid Friday evenings when everyone else will be on the road.
In case of a breakdown:
- Breaking down on the side of the road can be extremely hazardous. Consider your own safety first – if possible get your vehicle off the road and ensure all passengers are safe.
- Place a warning triangle at a suitable distance prior to the scene and switch on your hazard lights.
- Make sure every passenger wears a reflective jacket or tabard.
- If it’s warm and you wish to leave the car, exit with extreme caution on the side of the car away from the traffic. Find somewhere to sit that is a good distance away from the road and fumes and where you can keep an eye out for help to arrive.
- Of particular note, in any breakdown situation don’t forget to tell the breakdown company if you have children on board.
On a motorway:
- Switch on your hazard lights and pull as far as possible onto the hard shoulder turning your wheels away from the road – do not use a warning triangle.
- You must leave the vehicle from the left hand doors and keep well away from the carriageway.